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Sunday, March 12, 2023

TIME OF THE WRITER FESTIVAL LED BY ALL-WOMEN CURATORIAL TEAM


(Above: Nomthandazo Shandu, Nolwazi Nene, Sibahle Khwela & Scout Fynn)

An all-women curatorial team is behind the 26th edition of the Time of the Writer Festival that will be presented by the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

A national programme, including both live and online events, will take place from March 16 to 21. A supplementary programme of live events will be presented at various locations in Durban from March 22 to 25, 2023. 

The theme for the 2023 Time of the Writer festival is Placemaking: Roots, Influence, Imagination and Expression. The curatorial team has pulled together an impressive array of writers. The line-up for this edition includes, amongst several others, Fred Khumalo, Niq Mhlongo, Lebohang Masango, Makhosazana Xaba, Kumi Naidoo and Yewande Omotoso. Novelist and playwright Dr Sindiwe Magona has been selected as the 2023 Featured Author.

The team consists of curators Nomthandazo Shandu who graduated from UKZN, Sibahle Khwela who graduated cum laude from the Durban University of Technology, Nolwazi Nene hailing from UCT, and Scout Fynn from the Market Theatre Laboratory. The four young women are on a year-long Emerging Arts Managers internship programme at the Centre for Creative Arts.

The Centre's director Ismail Mahomed said: “From a grant that the Centre for Creative Arts received from the National Arts Council’s PESP fund, we created an opportunity for four young women graduates to be trained as curators and to work under the mentorship of the Centre’s management.” Mahomed has more than 35 years of experience in cultural leadership and a proven track record of catapulting new voices in the arts sector.

Siphindile Hlongwa, the Senior Administrator at the centre and curator of the Poetry Africa Festival, added: “There is a need for new and fresh curatorial voices in the South African arts sector and more so for women curators to shape a critical but optimistic new narrative for South African society.” Under Hlongwa’s leadership, Poetry Africa scooped a place for South African poet Xabiso Vili at last year's World Slam Poetry Championship in Brussels, where he was crowned winner.

Head of the curatorial team, Sibahle Khwela, said: “This is a valuable opportunity for us as young graduates to work curating a 26-year-old festival with a track record of excellence and an extensive national and international footprint. We have received a warm and enthusiastic response from writers and publishers who support our vision. We thank the UKZN and the NAC’s PESP Fund for this incredible opportunity.”

This year’s festival has also invited submissions of short stories from unpublished writers. Niq Mhlongo, Shafinaaz Hassim, Phindile Dlamini and Themba Qwabe will select 30 short story writers for a mentoring programme which will culminate with the publication of two short stories anthologies in English and isiZulu. The books will be launched on Literacy Day on September 8, 2023.

The Time of Writer festival programme is presented with an array of partners, which includes the UKZN Press, Wits Writing Centre, African Centre for the Study of the United States, UJ Arts & Culture, Dante Foundation, Italian Institute of Culture, the Alliance Fran├žaise, Business Arts South Africa, the Imbiza Journal for African Writing and the Embassy of Ukraine.

Partnering with the School of the Arts at UKZN, the festival will feature its third series of programmes for writers and stakeholders in the IsiZulu Language. The entire festival programme is published on the Centre's website: tow.ukzn.ac.za

The Time of the Writer Festival is funded by the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the KZN Department of Sport, Arts and Culture and the National Department of Sport, Arts and Culture PESP Fund, which is administered by the National Arts Council.

 

NB: For more information on the Centre for Creative Arts, click on the advert to the right of this article.