Franschhoek Litfest – Day 2

Posted: May 21, 2009 in Live! Blogging.
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The Youth Affair put forward a play during the Litfest that just oozed raw talent and passion. It is an initiative by the youth, for the youth, to keep them from rabble rousing on the streets.  The play entitled, Maid in Franschhoek, tells the tale of two girls that work together in a guest house.  Every day they battle poverty and substance abuse as they search for meaning and direction in their lives.  It’s a flurry of Afrikaans and English with some great poetry by Koos Kombuis, Adam Small and Peter Snyders tossed in for good measure.   It was a great way to spend our lunch hour at the fest.

We then dashed to the cosy Elephant and Barrel to dry our clothes. Then it was over to the straight shooting Sindiwe Magona (Beauty’s Gift), Terry Morris (Picador Africa) and the beautiful Petina Gappah (an Elegy for Easterly) to take to the mike. 

Petina Gappah

Petina Gappah

 They spoke about the importance of the literary journal in the electronic age.  The talk was chaired by Phakama Mbonambi; publishing editor of Wordsetc.  Both Magona and Gappah spoke at length on the importance of the literary journal and also about the importance of cultivating a love for books and reading in South Africa.   

A literary journal is often regarded as a labour of love, however it is an essential stepping stone for new and established writers, and good journal reflects the literary pulse of a country or a generation.  The latest Wordsetc. is packed with fascinating short stories, interviews, reviews and profiles.  At R170 for 4 issues its an absolute steal.  “Come on, people!” cries Bill Cosby.

Sindiwe Magona

Sindiwe Magona

Here are some of the journals and websites that were mentioned and that are worth checking out:

 Wordsetc – “a literary journal that seeks both to promote new South African writing and to pay homage to the literary masters of the past,” is how they describe themselves.  It’s a beauty; filled with fascinating reading. If you’re somewhat interested in life, the psychology of us, the greater meaning of the global community, a good story told well, and the way that words just fall together in a sentence that’s forever etched in your mind like a first love – sign up.  The welcome submissions.

www.smokelong.com – an online literary magazine dedicated to flash fiction (1000 words long) The term “smoke-long” comes from the Chinese, who noted that reading a piece of flash takes about the same length of time as smoking a cigarette.  All the work they publish is just that—about a smoke longWicked illustrations and the written word?…check it out for yourself.  Submissions welcome but read the guidelines!

Per Contra -The international journal of the Arts, Literature and Ideas.  Dodgy, archaic looking website, but they do host a lot of brilliant writing, and they recommend a list of note worthy blogs. Submissions reopen October 2009.

Guernica – a magazine of art and ideas that author Howard Zinn calls “an extraordinary bouquet of stories, poems, social commentary, and art.”   This site is HOT.  You can get lost for days in the writings from across the world. And they actually take submissions.

 And two not mentioned but  certainly some of my favourites…

www.african-writing.com – if you don’t know about this site…  Nuff said.  Take a week from work, visit it, get lost… enjoy … and submit your own.

www.somethingwicked.co.za  It is South Africa’s only magazine featuring horror, sci-fi and all things supernatural; available online or in tactile form.  Most of the content is provided by local artists and writers.  The artwork is truly sublime, and some of our top writers have been featured.  Off the wall, spine chilling and delightfully decadent.  And yes submissions welcome – but take a number.

Of course there’s more, but this will have to do for now.

Back to the Litfest….

Time for an early dinner at the Elephant and Barrel before making our way to the see legendary playwright, Mike van Graan’s,  Bafana Republic III.  I love the way he has used the audience to choose his actor – a bit like idols.  Very progressive and typical of a man who just drives forward all the time.   

Mike van Graan

Mike van Graan

 The one man performance was powerful and true to Van Graan’s biting satire.  It needs a bit of a polish here and there but I am sure it will be a showstopper, again, at the Grahamstown Festival this year.

Then back to Col’Cacchio for veggie pasta and a fine bottle of Merlot; then to bed for a good night’s rest.  After Friday night’s shenanigans – the good lord knows we deserve it.

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