27 August, 2007

Franschoek Literary Festival

The first Franschhoek Literary Festival in early May drew an estimated 2 000 readers. Readers, writers, media and book clubs strolled through the village interacting with 30 authors, poets and publishers in lively informal discussions, signings, fundraisers, talks, breakfasts, dinners and over drinks. The dates for next year are 16 - 18 May 2008 and the very generous sponsorship of the Delta Trust has been renewed. With Christopher Hope again as Festival Director, they aim to attract a mix of recently published South African writers and a handful of African and international writers. The drive for a new community library will continue to be the main focus, and the FLF committee was pleased to announce that their first festival raised a grand total of R104 007 towards the library fund. Wordsworth Books, whose bookshop in the Town Hall buzzed all weekend with sales and signings, generously donated 10% of their takings to the fund. Other exciting news was that the Exclusive Books Reading Trust donated a fully fitted and stocked container children’s library to the valley. The much-appreciated writer outreach to local schools and the Groot Drakenstein correctional facility will continue next year. New York writer Siri Hustvedt was so inspired by her prison visit that she donated a pile of books to the offenders’ library, and is helping to fund the writing workshops being run there by another FLF 2007 writers, crime queen Margie Orford. To further involve the community and young readers, the FLF 2008 committee will plan children’s events, low-priced tickets for students, and donations of complimentary seats. The Poetry Competition, which attracted over 200 entries this year and resulted in a booklet of winning entries, will be another highlight. Enjoyable fringe events like the classical music concerts, Off-the-Wall poetry, Mike van Graan’s one-person satire and the writers at chefs’ tables will be woven into the programme again. For more information, see www.flf.co.za

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