A week of workshops for aspiring writers

Participants of the Workshop Week event held last year.

Experienced writers will run workshops over six days, from Monday June 5 to Saturday June 10, at Bertha House, in Mowbray.

The Workshop Week is part of the Open Book Festival, which will take place in early September.

“We piloted Workshop Week in 2022 to offer aspiring and experienced writers the chance to participate in practical workshop sessions with experienced writers. It turned out to be very popular and sessions were fully booked at a rapid rate. It, therefore, made perfect sense to bring this event back for 2023,” says Frankie Murrey, event curator for the Open Book Festival.

The full programme is online and sessions will explore memoirs, poetry, short stories, and more, according to Ms Murrey.

The facilitators include Dr Athambile Masola, Dr Dawn Garish, Jacques Coetzee, Jacques Coetzee, Jerome Coetzee, Karina Szczurek, Melissa Sussens, Nondwe Mpuma, Stacy Hardy, Vangile Gantsho and Vuyokazi Ngemntu.

Dr Masola received her PhD from Rhodes University. Her dissertation was an exploration of black women’s life writing with a particular focus on Noni Jabavu and Sisonke Msimang’s memoirs. Her primary research focuses on black women’s life writing and historiography.

Dr Garish is a medical doctor and writer who has published poetry, novels, non-fiction, and a children’s book. She has had a short play and a short film produced and has written for television. She won the 2007 DALRO (Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation) prize for her poem Blood Delta. Her 2009 novel Trespass was short-listed for the 2010 Commonwealth Prize for fiction in Africa.

Jacques Coetzee is a poet, musician, and freelance translator. Since 2007 he has been the singer and one of the main songwriters in the band Red Earth & Rust, which released its fifth album of original material in 2022.

Jerome Coetzee is a writer, poet, and Master’s candidate in the department of Afrikaans at UWC. His research focus is on Afrofuturism in contemporary Afrikaans literature.

Szczurek is the author and co-editor of a dozen works of fiction and non-fiction, most recently a memoir, The Fifth Mrs Brink, and an anthology, Disruption: New Short Fiction from Africa. She is the founder of Karavan Press.

Sussens is a queer veterinarian and poet. Her debut collection, Slaughterhouse, was published by Karavan Press in 2022.

Mpuma holds an MA in Creative Writing degree from the UWC, where she lectures. Her work has been published widely in South Africa and abroad. She is one of the hosts of The Red Wheelbarrow Society based in Cape Town.

Hardy is a writer, an editor with pan-African platform Chimurenga and a teacher in creative writing in South Africa. Her writing has appeared in multiple literary magazines and anthologies.

Gantsho is a healer, poet, and co-founder of impepho press. She is the author of two poetry collections: red cotton (2018) and Undressing in Front of the Window (2015).

Ngemntu is a writer-performer whose work spans poetry, theatre, fiction, activism, and indigenous knowledge systems.

“The Red Wheelbarrow Society will also host an open mic session which is an opportunity to hear headline poets and support other voices. You can even perform yourself,” said Ms Murrey.

Participants must be available for all days of the multi-day workshops.

Visit openbookfestival.co.za for the programme and tickets.