Time of the Writer Festival Evening Panels and Programme

Media Release

Time of the Writer - Evening Panels - Programme

A select group of 20 writers from South Africa and Africa will gather together for a week of thought provoking literary dialogue and exchange of ideas at the Time of the Writer Festival from Monday (March 16)the opening night  untilSaturday (March 21) next week.

Audiences can expect to hear the opinions of multiple award winning writers, from a wide variety of political and social contexts, on the creative and technical processes and perspectives which shape their writing. Evening readings and discussions will take place at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre (Howard College Campus) beginning at 7pm each evening.


Tuesday, 17 March

Female Narratives

The first panel of the festival pairs two South African authors as they discuss with the challenges and opportunities faced by female authors in the modern landscape and unpack the female narratives in their writing.

Z.P Dala (South Africa) is a therapist and full-time writer. Dala has been included on the 2015 Goodreads Sunday Times list of Top Novelists to look out for in 2015.

Kirsten Miller (South Africa) has published short stories in six collections, a short play, a children’s book, and was a finalist in the SA PEN literary award three times. She held a dual career as a freelance writer and in early intervention for Autism for many years. She also worked as a Drama lecturer, a Creativity lecturer and a dolphin trainer early in her career.

The panel will be facilitated by UKZN research and PhD student Alan Muller.


Writing Without Permission

In the face of growing censorship across the world, Time of the Writer brings together two fearless authors with reputations for tapping into hard truths no matter the consequences.

Jacob Dlamini (South Africa) holds a PhD from Yale University. Having previously worked as a journalist and was the political editor of Business Day newspaper. He is the winner of the University of Johannesburg’s Creative Writing Debut Prize for his book Native Nostalgia.

Mzilikazi wa Afrika (South Africa) is a multi-award winning journalist working for the SundayTimes investigations unit in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Bushbuckridge born scribe was awarded two international scholarships to study in the UK and USA for the recognition of his outstanding achievements in the field of journalism.

Scholar and activist Jackie Shandu will facilitate the panel.


Wednesday, 18 March

Telling Stories, Bridging Divides

This panel highlights the power of literature to transcend borders and cultures, Telling Stories, Bridging Divides highlights two authors who have reached audiences beyond their regions through their stories being translated as well as the telling of stories that transcend borders.

Born in Bassala, Ousmane Diarra (Mali) is a storyteller, poet, novelist and author of many children’s books.

M.J Mngadi (South Africa) was the recipient of the SALA (S.A.) Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 for lifelong dedication to African and World literary excellence. Whilst employed at the Commissioner’s office as an Interpreter/Clerk Mngadi spent his spare time reading books and learning Authorship and Freelance Journalism.

Head of the French Department of University of KwaZulu-Natal Bernard De Meyer will facilitate the discussion.


Murder, She Wrote

With the rise in popularity of crime novels coming out of South Africa, this panel brings together two established female authors with the focus on this burgeoning genre.

Charlotte Otter (South Africa) is a writer living in Germany, where she works as a corporate communicator in the IT industry. Otter’s first novel, Balthasar’s Gift, which is crime fiction set in her home town of Pietermaritzburg, was published to critical acclaim.

Books editor for the Witness Margaret von Klemperer (South Africa) was arts editor of the newspaper for 16 years until she decided to give up full time work and see whether she could write a publishable book. She was born in Britain but has lived in Pietermaritzburg for more than 40 years.

This panel will be facilitated by PhD student Olivier Moreillon.


 Thursday, 19 March

Letters From Zimbabwe

The festival shifts its gaze north bringing together two of Zimbabwe’s new generation of authors to provide insight and perspective on the stories of Zimbabwe, often told from the diaspora.

Multiple award winner, NoViolet Bulawayo (Zimbabwe) shortlisted for the Man Booker prize for her novel entitled We Need New Names.

Sue Nyathi (Zimbabwe) began writing at the tender age of 10 and nurtured this passion through her teenage years.  Holder of a Master’s Degree in financeNyathi is a freelance writer, scriptwriter and a novelist.

Poet, author and activist Menzi Maseko will facilitate the panel.


Blurring the Lines- Memoir and Fiction

This panel brings together two prolific authors who sometimes channel real life experiences, to create honest pieces of work that tread the fine line between reality and fiction.

Nthikeng Mohlele (South Africa) was listed by Bloomsbury Publishing, Hay Festival and Rainbow Book Club among the 39 most promising authors under the age of 40 from sub-Saharan Africa and the diaspora.

Growing up in the streets of Makhado town, reformatory school and maximum security prisons,Tshifhiwa Given Mukwevho (South Africa)was released from prison on 11 November 2010, He went on to become  a writer, poet, freelance journalist and has also authored a novel, The Violent Gestures of Life.

This panel will be facilitated by Sunday Tribune senior journalist Nathi Olifant.


Friday, 20 March

Written in the Margin

Written in the Margin; highlights the untold stories of marginalised South Africans often forgotten in classic and popular literature, taking an audience into worlds overlooked.

Author and journalist Carol Campbell (South Africa) has worked in print media for 24 years and during that time covered South Africa’s transition to democracy in 1994 going on to win a British Council award for education reporting the following year.

Futhi Ntshingila (South Africa) is a former Sunday Times journalist and recipient of the 2004 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Editor’s Choice Award, with a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism at Rhodes University and Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Her work deals with women who are in the peripheries of society whose stories have been historically ignored.

Senior Sunday Times journalist Matthew Savides will facilitate the panel discussion. 


Words Weaving Worlds

This panel focuses on the power of words to create in-depth pieces of fiction that mirror the complexities of real life experiences.

Ekow Duker (South Africa) is an oil field engineer turned banker turned author with a heartfelt passion for writing. He is the author of two novels White Wahala and Dying in New York whichwere published simultaneously in July 2014.

Thando Mgqolozana (South Africa) is a novelist and screenwriter. His novel A Man Who Is Not a Man was long-listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and was adapted for screen into Ibhokhwe (The Goat), which won the Best Short Film and Best Director of a Short Film awards at the Independent Mzansi Short Film Festival in 2014.

Publisher and photographer Russell Grant will facilitate the panel.


Saturday, 21 March

Shapeshifting- Form and the Modern Writer

The festival brings two chameleon-like authors who aren’t hampered by the boundaries of traditional mediums. Both panelists are known for their ability to produce work across platforms and genres – theatre, screen and novel - to bring their stories to the world.

Author and filmmaker Dilman Dila (Uganda) has been shortlisted for the prestigious Commonwealth Short Story Prize (2013), twice long listed for the Short Story Day Africa prize, and nominated for the 2008 Million Writers Awards.

Internationally acclaimed author and playwright Craig Higginson (South Africa) was born in Zimbabwe and has lived in London, Stratford-upon-Avon, Paris and currently resides in Johannesburg. He is the recipient of the Sony Gold Award for the Best Radio Drama in the UK, the UJ Award for South African Literature in English and the Naledi Award for Best South African play.

The panel discussion will be facilitated by writer and critic Sihle Mthembu.


The Writer is the Witness

The final panel of the festival brings together two respected South African writers as they journey through our past, bringing a fresh perspective on well-known realities told through fiction.

Imraan Coovadia (South Africa) is a writer and director of the creative writing programme at the University of Cape Town. His novel The Institute for Taxi Poetry (2012) is the winner of the M-Net Prize.

Growing up in KwaMashu Township, Mandla Langa (South Africa) received his BA at the University of Fort Hare. In 1991, he became the first South African to be awarded an Arts Council of Great Britain Bursary for Creative Writing. His diverse work includes penning an opera, Milestones, with music composed by jazz musician Hugh Masekela.

The Writer is the Witness, will be facilitated by City Press KwaZulu-Natal Bureau Chief and investigative journalist Paddy Harper.


Ticket prices are R25 for the evening sessions and R10 for students on presentation of a student card. Workshops, seminars and book launches are free of charge. Book through Computicket Tel: 0861 915 8000 or 011 340 8000 or online at or at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre from 18h00.

Organised by the Centre for Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu-Natal) the 18th Time of the Writer, festival is made possible by support from our funders; the National Department of arts and Culture, eThekwini Municipality's Parks, Recreation and Culture Unit, the Goethe-Institut, the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS) and Adams Booksellers as well as support from our partners; Pan Macmillan, Daily News, Computicket and the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre. The Centre for Creative Arts is housed in the College of Humanities at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and is a special project of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Cheryl Potgieter.



For more information contact:

 Centre for Creative Arts, University of KwaZulu-Natal

 Tel: +27 31 260 2506/1816

Fax: +27 31 260 3074