Day 3, Franschhoek Litfest – Getting serious about creativity.

Posted: May 28, 2009 in Live! Blogging.
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Franschhoek, land of Broekielace, corrugated roofs, and barrels of lavender

Franschhoek, land of Broekielace, corrugated roofs, and barrels of lavender

Sunday rolled on and for the first time in three days the sun decided to make an appearance; reflecting violently from the water pools, streets and shop windows. Teliwe went to a talk featuring Diale Tlholwe, Finuala Dowling and Vikas Swarup – chaired by Michele Magwood. It was all about the writers’ urge to write, their methodology and influences. She resurfaced an hour later, glowing and inspired.

 I went to listen to a talk on ‘what kids want to read’ by Dianne Stewart, Mhlobo Jadezwini and Edyth Bulbring. And resurfaced safe in the knowledge that we don’t really know what kids want to read. The writers pointed out that it is a tricky business and what we should do is listen to the children themselves – let them guide us. Note the ages of the children that you are writing for: What challenges are they facing (emotionally, physically). A bit of a heated debate ensued on the Harry Potter/ mythology/ vampire phenomenon. Is it good for children to be introduced to witchcraft, etc A resounding, yes. Bulbring pointed out that forbidding your children to read these books will only vilify you and it will become attractive to children – forbidden fruit.

Then it was time for, ‘How many editors does it take to change a lightbulb?’ A passionate discussion between Henrietta Rose-Innes, Helen Moffet and Suzette Kotze-Myburgh, chaired by the charming Tom Eaton on the relationship between writer and editor. All three editors highlighted the importance of the link between ed and writer. Helen Moffet gave a startling emotional account of her experiences as an editor – tears, laughter and melodrama – she has a potential career on the stage. Moffet wrote a very informative piece on the role of editors in the latest Wordsetc., which is well worth a read by all editors and writers. The gentle and intelligent Suzette Kotze-Myburgh recounted how Koos Kombuis made an honorary mention of her as his editor and that it is this little gesture adds value to her work. But she pointed out that if you want recognition as an editor – you should probably find another job. What really came out from the discussion is that editors are vital in the process, and undervalued in general. Also, that a true editor is born, an intuitive nature cannot really be taught.

 Our last talk was given by journalist and broadcaster, Max du Preez. The man really is just a gentle genius. He spoke at length about his new book Of tricksters, tyrants and turncoats. I promptly bought a copy which du Preez signed and I am getting up close and personal with some of our lesser known characters in history. Honestly, you cannot make the characters up, they are wicked, bizarre, original and very real. Du Preez suggests that we all pick a character from the past and make them our own hero or ancestor. “ancestors can be chosen.”

Hier ist alles zu!

Hier ist alles zu!

 Too soon it was all over. Teliwe and I ended up at Kalfies Restaurant, ordered smoked salmon salad and veggie pasta, a bottle of bubbly and toasted a wonderful intellectual and creative weekend as the sun slowly set behind the mountains. Much later we were lying on our bed at the hotel and we had our own slam poetry evening. We recited words, and dreamt up great intellectual and spiritual journeys. Next up… Grahamstown National Arts Festival!


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