The vast majority of South African children are eager to learn, but have minimal access to books that are exciting, engaging and relevant to their lives. The encouragement of a love for reading amongst the youth has been one of the main aims of the Franschhoek Literary Festival since its inception, and one of the reasons why the FLF will host a Book Week for Young Readers from 7to 11May, the week leading up to FLF 2012.
During this week, more than 40 workshop facilitators and writers of books for children and young adults will visit every class (from Gr R to Gr 12) in seven Franschhoek schools, where they will talk to over 4 000 learners about topics relevant to their ages and home languages. The young readers will also take part in readathons, poetry, comic & lyric writing workshops, and book and poetry competitions. The week is supported by Nali’ibali, a reading club initiative soon to be rolled out country-wide by the Sunday Times, one of the FLF partners.
The FLF programme also includes events that young readers will enjoy. Student tickets are R20 for the first 6 events, available from Sheenagh at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are a few writers who have managed to lure younger readers into their imaginary worlds, and in Heroes and zombies, Edyth Bulbring finds out what the catch is when it comes to writing for teens from Sarah Lotz (Death of a Saint), Darrel Bristow-Bovey (SuperZero) and Palesa Morudu of Cover2Cover. Others have also managed to do crack the teen code, and in Cape voices Tracey Farren (Snake) chats to Yewande Omotoso (Bom Boy) and Maya Fowler (The Elephant in the Room), who more recently is an author of prizewinning teen fiction.
In Cellphone fiction: MXit with M4Lit, Arthur Attwell Hear talks about MXit was born and where books can be downloaded on cellphones, one short sizzling chapter a day, with Alan Knott-Craig Jnr of MXit, Gus Silber (author of The MXit Story) and Mignon Hardie of the FunDza Literary Trust.s. Gamers and geeks will enjoy tech wizard Arthur Goldstuck (World Wide Worx) and broadcaster Simon Dingle on the coming techno revolution in The Technology Tsunami.
In Growing up John Maytham talks to charismatic Chris van Wyk, Hawks spokesman McIntosh Polela and Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina about their childhood memoirs.
In This is My Land: launch of UWC Creates anthology in three languages Professor Duncan Brown introduces Sindiwe Magona and Meg Vandermerwe, UWC creative writing teachers who, together with Antjie Krog, compiled this multilingual anthology of student writing.
Draw Your Life, Publish Your Self! is a double session for graphics enthusiasts with some of SA’s top cartoon and comix artists and publishers (cost: R120. Book via Webtickets)
The FLF is very informal and audiences are invited to ask questions towards the end of the session. In the half-hour between events, festival-goers can grab a bite and a cooldrink from the coffee stall in the Town Hall, vendors on the street corners, or Pick ‘n Pay. The full programme of the 2012 Franschhoek Literary Festival is online at www.flf.co.za, with bookings open on www.webtickets.co.za.
Author: Gilly Hemphill