Friday, March 23, 2007

10th Time of the Writer - KZN

I have just emerged from a delightful foray into the midst of KZN's annual delectable wordsmiths gala. The Centre for Creative Arts at UKZN this week presents the 10th annual Time of the Writer International Writer's Festival. A colourful mingling of writer's, publishers, readings, discussions, book launches, seminars and the like served to nourish and entice my thirsty artists soul to heighty ideals and delightfully dreamy proportion: imagination now spurred to meek out more than sustenance, now gravitates to soar where eagles only dared before :P
Needless to say, the repertoire of talent was mesmerizing- from across the continent and globe, writers and readers have descended upon the sunshiny Durban to feast their minds on the glorious display of word and concept. For all those armchair travelling folk: a congregation of the free-spirited and the haughty, colour and mis-colour, geek and goddess of grandiose delusions all united to draw on the magnificent power of the creative collective. Judging from my dizzying script, I have now given up hope of my trance ever coming to pass after this one! Let me try to play this reel of the events of the last few days and hope that readers might see beyond the haze of the creative smoke that thickened the air...
Book launches I enjoyed: Tsitsi Dangarembga's 'The Book of Not', a sequel to 'Nervous Conditions' which has been lauded as a high-school setwork. Shabbir Bhanoobhai's 'If I could write'. Ngugi wa Thiong'o has a new novel called 'Wizard of the Crow'. Justin Nurse of 'Laugh it off' fame has just released the 3rd Annual which he dedicates to a new religion, i.e. Humourology.
Fred Khumalo presented a rivetting seminar called: 'In search of Self: The art of Autobiography' and spoke about the journey of writing his own at the age of 29. His narrative covers the first 24 years of his life and situates itself in the political climate that was South Africa; but clearly asserts itself as a personal account and not a political statement. In his speech, he states that the autobiography is "not a self-indulgent exploration of ego", but from the reading I can say that I really like his non-apologetic stance. And in the light of his homeboy persona, the title in greeting, is: 'Touch my Blood'. Fred Khumalo, by the way, is the editor of the Insight section of the Sunday Times and also has a love story/novel titled 'Bitches Brew'. I found his presentation deeply inspiring.
For those of you interested in information regarding publishing non-fiction research, and organisation called ANFASA supports numerous grants schemes, financial awards and the like. For those interested in getting work published, their online guideline for understanding publishing contracts is of particular relevance. Of particular fascination and delight to me, was a group of children writers. Twelve year old's as published authors, writing for children. And Felicity Keats of Dancing Pencils Writing Clubs presented a soulful talk about her life work of teaching and encouraging writers of all ages, and self-publishing and distributing these works into communities, especially disadvantaged ones.
Chika Unigwe, from Nigeria, now lives in Belgium with her husband and children and serves as the first black city councillor in her town of residence. She says that in many ways she has persevered and broken the draconian resistance to change, and in the three hundred year old town, saw the emergence of the first black cab-driver in 2006. As a writer of children's books, the seemingly obvious discrepancy between the persona as politician and writer is misguided judgement, as we soon discover, because she is able to break the stereotype and bring a genuine sensitivity in her concern and regard for humanity into her conduct of life and work.
Justin Nurse, for those who know the notorious Laugh it Off t-shirts worn on campuses across the country, was a bag of creative hilarity. But then, so was Darrel Bristow Bovey with his Super Zero - Just a Boy from the Bluff. Laugh it Off seems to have taken a rather low-key stance as of late, after a four year battle with SABreweries regarding an inflamed court case over the use of the Black Label banner in a semi-distorted statement: 'Black Labour - White Guilt'. During the proceedings, Castle took advantage of the slur and used it in its ad campaign, defiantly suggesting that drinking its brand was White Guilt- So What? Political comment lost in parody. But I can find an appreciation for Nurse's attempt to defragment the brainwashing campaigns even though he typically railroads just about anything that appears in his eye-line including religion. His approach though, is just enough to provoke dialogue and thought and not enough to cause any grievous bodily harm in any life-threatening way. His is a comment on expression. An expression of ideology. And an intent at anti-ideology. That said, I have my very own copy of the Annual. Apparently not accepted at the shelves of mainstream stores like Exclusive etc. Simply put: Not for the faint of heart.
The hero of writers for children, is, as the reviews at Books & Leisure put it: our South African Dr. Seuss: Donald Woodburn who has written three books so far and is working on a fourth. "I slipped and slopped in the slosh and the goosh I struggled in the mush and swallowed some moosh". This a serious and stern quote from 'He sneezed on me: the story of a monster's snot'. Delightful! And even more so because of his very colourful presentation! Second was 'Thandi counts to ten', and third and new is his 'All the people of the world', of which he calls his illustrations: Colour and Craft on steroids :)) Difficult to disagree! A review by Tanja Sakota-Kokot of Wits School of Arts states that "its a fusion of contemporaty popular culture that springs to life from the stalls of the Rosebank African Craft Market, well accompanied by eclectic, witty verse". I say not just for kids! For kids and for their kids too! Go get some!
Bye for now, Updates later folks. More to feast on until tomorrow evening. And let me go find some pics to post! Ciao. Shafs.

16 comments:

SingleGuy said...

I wish I was a writer instead of a doctor sometimes. I've always wanted to write but I just don't have the talent. I guess blogging is as far as I'll get for now...

wish I was there...

taqdeer said...

wow, that is indeed an alphabet soup for the read hungries :)

Sounds like an event of note :)

Enjoy :)

Lady said...

awwwwwwww
i'm so envious.
i used to attend all these things alone. i'm such a geek :/
I made friends with an old german man, and every year we'd get seats together :P hehe

ooh @ booklaunches :) i read nervous conditions . . Uni Setwork on Gender and Feminism *thinks*

you sound like u had an wonderfully inspirational time.
Next year, we'll attend it together :) U gotta go for the Poetry Africa Festival . . . (dunno if they still have it) Usually leaves ppl floating.

Lady said...

@ single guy

being a writer isn't a proper job.
You can have a profession / career and still be a writer.
First core life characteristic is to have something stable that brings u a decent livelihood.... and then u can write in yr spare time. (some of us learn this too late)

verbosity said...

Aah! The seasoned writer just got back from one of those secret society writer's conventions!

Sounds great!

Anonymous said...

This is incredible! Your commitment to your art extends to such amazing lengths! Well done!

JT

kimya said...

hey all

:)

indeed, the writer's convention was one of those soul amplifying cocktails of delight!

and i happened upon a person committed to the science of blogging/ researching alternative media: please feel free to visit www.purrsona.blogspot.com to leave a comment regards blogging in aid of science :)

diatribe said...

blog science. well well well...
and who might this purrsona be?

Bilal said...

@singleguy:
doctor, writer, accountant- these are just labels. You can be whatever you want. Just start practising!

@kimya:
i miss those- campus was fun! time of the writer, poetry and film festivals on campus- jhb dont have those:(

bibi-aisha said...

Due to my ridiculous indecisiveness i missd out.thanks 4 the lowdown. Ct book fair mid june-hey!idea! any bloggers intrstd in goin?

M Junaid said...

I guess we attended two totally different festivals - but then again - i only attended thursday's event, so i guess its unfair to judge the entire festival just from that.

i'm glad that you enjoyed it - I've always been a fan of Ngugi Wa Thiongo (ever since being introduced to him through his debates with Chinua Achebe)

kimya said...

@bilal: hey u dont see me missing our jus cos im no longer on campus :P
i took the week off just to indulge myself!

@bb: cpt here we come: you got time to decide!

@mj: thursday was gr8 i thort...

SingleGuy said...

It's in Cape Town?.....Then I'm in!

Anonymous said...

Oh my!

Knowing you, you probably came back from the book fair lugging an extra bag of books!

Well done on the new book :))

MS

qdee said...

wow.lol im right here and i couldnt go :(
i absolutely love getting lost in books.njoy

bibi-aisha said...

Just got the dates for my june pracs in potch 4-16 june. Book fair starts 16th -3 day event i tink. I left egypt end nov,n cairo book fair,one of the largest in the world, was mid jan. How i regret not bein there.my frnds begged me to stay,but i was homesick. Shaf,we must meet up soon here in jhb.id like 2get 2kno u better-tink we only spoke a few times on campus.n i must read ur book