Get ready for Word­fest

CityPress - - Voices - CHARL BLIG­NAUT charl.blig­naut@city­press.co.za

A huge pack of writ­ers and thinkers are head­ing to the Na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val in Gra­ham­stown to present and de­bate at Word­fest – the book fes­ti­val within the arts fes­ti­val – that runs from July 1 to 7.

“Word­fest pro­vides a plat­form for new tal­ent and a di­ver­sity of voices, draw­ing on the over 50 000 fes­ti­val­go­ers who flock to Gra­ham­stown ev­ery year,” say the or­gan­is­ers.

It’s the big names, hot-po­tato is­sues and best­sellers that fill the au­di­to­rium at Eden Grove, so who should fest vis­i­tors be look­ing out for this year?

Sea­soned jour­nal­ist Than­deka Gqubule’s new book, No Longer Whis­per­ing to Power: The Story of Thuli Madonsela, is a labour of love and won­der­ful writ­ing, with pro­ceeds go­ing to help fund stu­dents in their stud­ies. She’ll be in town to launch the book and dis­cuss it.

Nkosi­nathi Sit­hole’s debut novel, Hunger Eats a Man, about ru­ral life in South Africa, won the Sun­day Times fic­tion award. Catch him at Word­fest.

What a mo­ment: Jus­tice Dik­gang Moseneke’s My Own Lib­er­a­tor and Jus­tice Al­bie Sachs’ We, the Peo­ple both come up for dis­cus­sion – and the two el­ders will each lead a ses­sion on the other’s book. Lessons to be learnt abound.

The Dalai Lama and Emer­i­tus Arch­bishop Des­mond Tutu’s The Book of Joy spent good time on the best­seller lists. It’s a record of con­ver­sa­tions be­tween the two No­bel peace prize lau­re­ates.

Dis­cussing the book are Dr Vi­cen­tia Kgabe, rec­tor of the Angli­can Col­lege of Trans­fig­u­ra­tion and Bud­dhist Pro­fes­sor An­ton Krueger.

He­len Zille will be in town too, talk­ing about Not With­out a Fight, an au­to­bi­og­ra­phy rated as one of the best writ­ten by a South African.

A re­cent book, Fees Must Fall, edited by Pro­fes­sor Su­san Booy­sen, will be un­packed by a panel that in­cludes Pro­fes­sor Bar­ney Pityana, Pro­fes­sor David Ever­att, Pro­fes­sor Ash­win De­sai and stu­dent Sanele kaNt­shin­gana.

Al­ways Anasta­cia is an in­ti­mate au­to­bi­og­ra­phy by a med­i­cal doc­tor, Anasta­cia Tom­son, born male but liv­ing as a woman and of­fers a nu­anced un­der­stand­ing of what it means to be trans­gen­der.

Fa­tima Meer: Mem­o­ries of Love and Struggle is an im­por­tant and in­ti­mate bi­og­ra­phy of Fa­tima Meer. A dis­cus­sion will be led by the ed­i­tor of the work, Shamim Meer, daugh­ter of the rev­o­lu­tion­ary struggle hero.

Rhodes Univer­sity also fa­cil­i­tates Word­fest as an out­reach and com­mu­nity en­gage­ment project, “host­ing around 100 mul­ti­lin­gual writ­ers from urban and out­ly­ing ar­eas of the Eastern Cape”. At one joy­ful ses­sion Eastern Cape writ­ers and im­bongis will share po­ems and prose in isiXhosa, Se­sotho, Afrikaans and English. Word­fest is held in the Eden Grove build­ing on Rhodes Univer­sity cam­pus. All events are one hour and cost R25, un­less stip­u­lated oth­er­wise For the full pro­gramme and times, visit na­tion­alarts­fes­ti­val.co.za or the Word­fest Face­book page at Word­fest South Africa

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