Pretoria - The ninth African Writers’ Symposium, expected to take place from October 8 to 20 is gearing up for a festival of literature.
The 12-day event will feature Nomboniso Gasa and Professor Pamela Nichols from the Wits Writing Centre in conversation, as well as a talk by writer, activist, and actor Rhodessa Jones from the USA.
Jones works with incarcerated women there and has worked for several years in South Africa at Sun City Prison with women inmates.
Her work is focused on using theatre to reduce recidivism.
She will be looking at issues around women, love, crime, and incarceration, including “celebrity” criminals and societal perceptions.
Joining her at the talk will be writer and journalist Naledi Shange, author of “Cop Killer”, the story of Rosemary Ndlovu.
The programme will end with music and poetry by award-winning artists such as Boskasie, Muneyi, Marleyne B, Dshamilja Roshani, and Torsten Rybka.
The second major part of the African Women Writers Symposium will move to the Auditorium (Market Photo Workshop, at the Market Square, Newtown) on Friday and Saturday, October 13 and 14.
Writer and academic Professor Barbara Boswell will deliver the Nadine Gordimer In Memoriam Lecture on Friday, followed by a Q&A. Music, poetry and workshops will also take place.
Previous keynote addresses for the Nadine Gordimer In Memoriam Lecture have been delivered by writers from the continent and its diaspora, such as Patricia Smith (USA), Tsitsi Dangarembga (Zimbabwe), Leila Aboulela (Sudan), Gillian Slovo (SA), and Lorna Goodison (Jamaica).
The Saturday will feature literary international and local panel discussions with Dr Nkateko Masinga, and Gary Cumminsky, facilitated by Shafinaaz Hassimon, along with masterclass workshops.
Highlights include a talk led by Egyptian activist and feminist Mona Eltahawy on social media and misogyny, a panel on independent book publishing, and workshops on poetry writing beyond the stage, and on scriptwriting and film-making.
The first day of the event will see the announcement of the inaugural African Women Writers Literary Prize of the African Women Writers Symposium, with Gasa and Nichols in conversation, and a Talk/Discussion by Rhodessa Jones on “Women, Love, Crime and Incarceration”, including “celebrity” criminals and societal perception, with the participation of Shange, author of “Cop Killer”.