About Mellon Writers in Residence

A boost to the MA in Creative Writing in 2012 was the first Mellon Writer in Residence Fellowship funded by the Mellon Foundation under the auspices of the university’s Research Division. Under this scheme, the teachers on the course nominate a writer to spend three months in Grahamstown, mainly to work on his/her own creative work, but also to do some teaching in the MA course.

The first Mellon Fellow, in residence from mid-April to mid-July, was iconoclastic poet Lesego Rampolokeng. He was active in the teaching programme, participating in most of the poetry workshops, and running a workshop series of his own. He also gave seminars in the Drama department, launched a new book, and delivered a public lecture [in poem form] as a Humanities Seminar.

For the period September to November, the Mellon writer in residence was Eben Venter, a leading Afrikaans novelist based in Australia. Venter supervised an Afrikaans MA thesis on the course, presented a seminar which was recorded for the 2013 MA class, gave a public reading from his work in English and Afrikaans, and held a seminar in the English Department.

Kobus Moolman – poet, dramatist, and head of creative writing at UKZN – was Mellon writer in residence from mid-April to mid-July 2013.   He launched his new book of poems while in Grahamstown, and gave a lecture on his writing methods.   He was particularly active and generous as a teacher, giving a seminar on scriptwriting and some workshops on poetry.  Moolman wrote some new poems and a complete play during his stay.

The second 2013 Mellon writer in residence, at Rhodes until the end of October 2013, i was the bilingual writer Soga Mlandu who writes essays, short stories and poetry in both English and Xhosa.  Together with one of the MA teachers, Mxolisi Nyezwa, he has convened two workshops for Xhosa writers active at Rhodes, including graduate students from the division of African Languages. 

THe Mellon Writer in Residence for 2014 are Denis Hirson, who has published seven books, most of them concerned with the memory of South Africa under apartheid, and most of them crossing the boundary between poetry and prose and Donald Parenzee an architect and a poet who was active for many years in cultural initiatives opposed to apartheid.

Besides their benefit for the writers themselves, we are grateful to the Mellon Foundation for the extra input the residencies give to our programme and to the wider university community.

- Robert Berold

Coordinator, MA in Creative Writing

Last Modified: Wed, 24 Sep 2014 18:12:36 SAST