BY BILLY SUTER
‘CHANGING the narrative’ is the theme of the 21st Time of the Writer international festival, which will see 16 writers from all over the world appearing from March 12 to 17 at Durban’s Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre.
This year’s Time of the Writer will consist of a day programme hosted in four community libraries (Austerville, Westville, Chesterville Extension and Tongaat), as well as art centres and schools, where workshops and panel discussions will take place. These include The George Campbell Museum, Mangosuthu University of Technology in Umlazi and Luthuli Museum in Groutville.
In the evening, panel discussions will be hosted at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Tickets for the evening programme are available on Computicket, however the day programme is free of charge.
The writers will convene under this year’s theme of ‘Changing the Narrative’ and will engage with this notion as it relates to their work and the direction in which literature is moving towards in this context, a spokesman explains.
Among participating authors will be award-winning Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ from Nigeria, Jennipher M Zulu from Zambia, Kafula Mwila, from Zambia. and poet, performance master and author of 12 books, Lesego Rampolokeng from Johannesburg.
Others scheduled to feature at the event include Luka Mwango from Zambia; M K Asante from the US; Refiloe Moahloli from Mthatha in South Africa; Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh from Johannesburg; short story and children’s author Themba Qwabe from Durban, and Unathi Slasha from Port Elizabeth, who reimagines and subverts Nguni folklore.
Then there are award-winning novelist and short story writer Yewande Omotoso, born in Barbados, raised in Nigeria and based in Cape Town; and novelist, journalist, poet and academic Alain Mabanckou, born in Congo and based in Los Angeles.
Professor of political economy Patrick Bond, from Johannesburg, is also on the bill, along with Lindiwe Mabuza from Newcastle, South Africa; Mohale Mashigo from Soweto and Grizelda Grootboom, based in Cape Town
This year’s festival offers a special focus on children’s literature, which will see a storytelling session on Saturday, March 17, and panel discussions around that during the week, facilitated by Dr Gcina Mhlophe. That same day, Dr Lindiwe Mabuza will launch two children’s books.
Adams Book Shop will host a pop-up bookshop at the foyer of the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre with new and older work of the participating authors. Many of the participating writers will be available to sign books.
The acting-director of the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts, Chipo Zhou, said: “We are very excited to be hosting Time of the Writer yet again and celebrating the diverse voices that make up our African literary continent.
“The CCA is grateful for the support from our various stakeholders, without which this festival would not be possible. In an ever-changing global village, the backing of the literary giants in attendance this year, is most humbling, 21 years on.
“We look forward to an intellectually engaging event that will entertain and challenge our creativity.”