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Sunday, September 28, 2008


National Arts Festival announces launch of new initiative.

South African writing is due to receive a fresh injection of inspiration from the National Arts Festival with the launch of a new initiative, Writing Beyond the Fringe. Writers who have written at least one script that has previously been staged on the Fringe programme of the National Arts Festival qualify to participate in this exciting project.

Four writers will be given the opportunity to take their literary works beyond the South African borders. The project is a partnership between the National Arts Festival and the deBuren and Passa Porta literary projects in Belgium and The Netherlands.

Four writers will be selected to each write a new story that reflects on the theme, Remapping the World. The focal point of the story should be a character whose life has been remapped by either local or global changes of the last decades. The writers will be invited to read the stories in front of an audience at the 2009 National Arts Festival. In addition, the Brussels-based deBuren Project will pay the four writers three thousand Euros each. The works will also be translated into French, Spanish and Dutch.

The four stories will be broadcast by Radio Netherlands Worldwide on Radio Books, a series of recorded stories specially written to be listened to and not to appear in print. The stories, which should last between 20 - 30 minutes (approximately 5,000 words), are read aloud by the authors in front of an audience once only. After the reading, they are broadcast on the radio and distributed via the Internet, where they can be listened to or downloaded free of charge.

"Storytelling is one of our oldest traditions. Distributing South African stories which have a strong continental and global resonance through the World Wide Web is a product of our present age", said Festival Director, Ismail Mahomed. “This project allows writers to think of the World Wide Web as a stage which will allow them to engage with an international audience."

One of the four writers will also be considered for an invitation to participate in a fully sponsored one-month writer’s residency at the Passa Porta Writer's Festival that will take place in Brussels during 2009.

This opportunity is available to South African citizens or those with permanent residency in South Africa. It is confined to new writers who have had a maximum of one publication in book form, or whose work has not previously been published in book form, although it may have appeared in magazines, journals, or newspapers.

Application forms and more information on how to participate in the "Writing Beyond the Fringe" programme can be downloaded from the National Arts Festival web-site

For more information, contact the Fringe Festival Manager, Kate Axe Davies, on 046 603 1163 or the Festival Director, Ismail Mahomed, on 046 603 1149. Closing date for submission of application forms is September 30 2008 and the deadline for receipt of the completed work will be November 24, 2008.

The 35th National Arts Festival runs from July 2 to 11, 2009, and is sponsored by The Eastern Cape Government, Standard Bank, The National Arts Council and The Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund.