11th Time of the Writer 25-30 March 2008 International Writers Festival
The Time of the Writer international festival of writers celebrates its 11th edition with a six-day programme of readings, presentations, discussions and book launches nightly at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
As part of the festival’s ongoing effort to promote and nurture a culture of reading, writing and creative expression, the presence of writers is spread across Durban and surrounding areas in wide-reaching day activities that include youth workshops, a prison writing workshop, a writers parliament, a publishing forum, and other seminars and workshops.
Africa is well represented at the festival with a particularly strong Kenyan and Zimbabwean presence. This comes at a time when Kenya is undergoing perhaps one of its most politically volatile periods in recent memory, and with Zimbabwean elections.taking place during the festival period. In a Writers SpeakOut slot, Kenyan poet, Shailja Patel, last in the country for Poetry Africa 2007, will present a special Kenyan Bulletin, which will articulate the crisis facing her country. Dayo Forster, though Gambian by birth, is now a resident in Kenya and she too will no doubt add insight. A scientist by training, Foster’s debut novel Reading the Ceiling is a structurally daring exploration of the role of chance in a young woman’s life. Kenyan publisher, writer, and scholar Henry Chakava is perhaps the most famous African publisher of his generation. He, amongst other achievements, led the successful acquisition of Heinemann in East Africa by a group of Kenyans, localizing it and was also the only publisher to give a voice to the works of Ngugi wa Thiong’o in the 1970s and 1980s. Joining Chakava is the celebrated Zimbabwean editor and publisher Irene Staunton, whose Weaver Press has developed an award-winning catalogue of Zimbabwean fiction and non-fiction. Fellow Zimbabwean Charles Mungoshi, long respected as one of the region’s foremost writers, has over the years written novels and short stories, both in English and Shona, that are awash with poignancy, power and gentle humour.