Performance, film, live music, a street market, and newly-published books will feature at the 2021 Schreiner Karoo Writers Festival (SKWF) on 3 and 4 September.
As part of the SKWF programme, Chris Marais and Julienne du Toit will chat about their new book, The Flanagan Journey: Extraordinary South African Women profiles 45 scholars awarded the Patrick and Margaret Flanagan Scholarship between 1985 and 2020 for postgraduate studies at top overseas universities.
Isobel Dixon from Graaff-Reinet was one of them. Now based in London, Isobel is one of the top literary agents globally and represents Deon Meyer and many other South African authors.
Marais and du Toit are photo-journalists, writers, publishers and teachers operating from Cradock. They will also be presenting their most recent book Karoo Roads 2.
An SKWF favourite, Noseweek editor Martin Welz will report on unlocking the truth, and Maeder Osler of the Hantam Community Trust will read anecdotes from a unique community newspaper.
Pop-ups from mime artist Richard Antrobus and a quartet from the Iva Collective (including Sam Collett and Buntu Duku) will add a shot of adrenalin.
Also featured at the event will be the ‘Arts Town Cradock (ATC)’ project – an outcome of the maturing collaboration between the SKWF and founding sponsor, Amazwi South African Museum of Literature in Makhanda. Representing the ATC team, Lisa Ker will introduce ATC as an inclusive and healing initiative using the arts to improve community life and promote economic activity via tourism.
Amazwi director Beverley Thomas will explain the upgrading of the Schreiner House grounds and the new community and performance facilities approved for construction. Schreiner House is Amazwi’s Cradock satellite, and it has been agreed that this historic site will serve as a hub for ATC.
The SKWF gathering will then regroup for a round table session on how best to promote literary tourism and attract visitors to significant sites. Melissa and Ian Sutherland of Vindigo Travel and Dean Allen will lead the discussion.
“Personalities, anecdotes, sites, artefacts and memorabilia all attract visitors. The Schreiner heritage is rich in all of these,” said Lisa Ker.
Supporting the point, Schreiner scholars Professor Paul Walters and Jeremy Fogg will recount the events of 15 August 1921 when Schreiner’s remains were moved from Cape Town and re-interred on Buffelskop. Amazwi’s Marike Beyers will offer a peep into Schreiner family life via personal letters in the museum’s collection.
Writing for film
The Friday afternoon programme is devoted to writing for film. Dorothy de Kok (in conversation with Bridget Harrison) will retrace her steps from that first online course to getting her script accepted by a director and now seeing her first half-hour mini-feature film (The Tip) on YouTube.
Award-winning screenwriter Cate Woods Hunter will share some advice on how to develop fictional characters. Thriller supremo writer Deon Meyer will chat about the switch from novel to screenplay and his fascination for film.
A Saturday morning street market brings visitors into contact with more locals while the main programme presents another marketplace of ideas.
In a second appearance, Deon Meyer will chat with Jurie Taljaardt about his day-to-day life and work. Speaking from the heart, Tony Jackman will explain what the Karoo means to him. Journalist Sue Segar will quiz Ian Sutherland on the process of writing a novel.
Leading into the main programme from 1 September, 20 educators will participate in and enact an innovative fusion of Creative Arts and Life Skills during a two-day think-tank on blurring divisions between the Creative Arts and Lifeskills syllabi and merging them into more relevant fields of experience.
“Poetry is the most immediately useful of the Creative Arts for this experiment and, appropriately, the think-tank is generously supported by The AVBOB Poetry Project,” said co-ordinator Melina Smit. She is a Senior Education Specialist for Creative Arts & Life Skills at the Department of Education.
CEO of AVBOB, Carl Van der Riet, expressed his pleasure at supporting this innovative event. “The initiative shows remarkable resourcefulness and creativity, as well as an original and integrated approach to education that fosters much-needed life skills and creative thinking. The AVBOB Poetry Project values the thoughtful and intelligent approach to education that underpins this endeavour. We are glad to contribute and to participate in the think-tank via our head writer on the project, Liesl Jobson,” he said.
“Short term, we hope for a flurry of entries from the region in the fifth AVBOB Poetry Competition. Long term, we anticipate seeing many more creative thinkers emerge from the region’s youth who might, in turn, apply this holistic approach to finding meaningful solutions for the challenges that are uniquely their own,” he concluded.
The AVBOB Poetry Competition opens to poets writing in all 11 official languages on 1 August 2021 and closes on 30 November 2021. Entrants are encouraged to register now on the website – www.avbobpoetry.co.za.
For further general information, please refer to the SKWF Facebook page and website: www.karoowritersfestival.weebly.com