City to host fifth NC Writers' Festival

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THE FIFTH annual Northern Cape Writers' Festival kicks off in Kimberley today. The festival, hosted by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, will run until Saturday at the Kimberley Public Library.

It will be celebrated under the theme "We have a good story to tell" and aims to inculcate a culture of reading and storytelling among the people of the Northern Cape. The writers' festival was started in 2007 and seeks to bring an opportunity for scholars and aspiring writers to interact and learn from notable and established wordsmiths.

The 2014 edition will bring writers and poets such as James Matthews, Napo Masheane, Professor Peter Horn, Professor Yunus Ballim, Professor Cornelius Thomas, Mike Maphoto, the DFA's Sabata-mpho Mokae, Floris Brown, Mark Kotze and Dr Allen Grootboom, amongst others, to the Province's shores. The festival boasts features such as the Book Fair, which is aimed at introducing the reading public to new books.

One of the critical elements of the writers' festival is the roundtable discussions. This year the discussions will mainly reflect on the road travelled during the past 20 years of democracy as reflected by the theme. The roundtable discussions will further focus on the creative writing process, as well as preserving our heritage with an emphasis on indigenous languages.

The festival will also serve as a platform for poetry rendition and a number of books from both national and local authors will also be launched during the event. Children from local schools will also benefit as the festival will host a special children festival as part of the main writers' festival programme.

One of the writing workshop facilitators at this year's festival, celebrated local author and poet, Mokae, yesterday said he welcomed the development potential for aspiring writers that the festival brought to not only the Northern Cape, but the entire central region.

"Not only is this the only festival of its kind in the Northern Cape, but it is also in the Free State and North West. I look forward to assisting aspiring writers with the writing processes and other ideas. "This festival will definitely be of infinite value to any aspiring writer who attends," he said. Mokae last year received two M-Net Literary Awards for his debut Setswana novel, Ga Ke Modisa and recently obtained a master's degree in creative writing from Rhodes University.

By Norma Wildenboer