Category: Wordfest

Andrew Salomon is the winner of this year’s Short.Sharp.Stories Award. Salomon’s short story, Train 124, earned him R20 000 in prize money. His work, along with that of 19 other talented authors, is available in the Incredible Journey anthology.

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This year’s anthology for Short.Sharp.Stories is titled Incredible
Journey.

Short.Sharp.Stories – a literary initiative sponsored by the National Arts Festival – will announce the winner of the 2015 Award at the Eden Grove complex on 10 July. This year’s anthology, Incredible Journey, will also be released and available for purchase.

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Lesego Rampolokeng is surely South Africa’s most under-appreciated poet. His concussive, dense poetry is the dry, hacking cough in South Africa’s night. His work tinges the world with colours of wakefulness at odds with South Africa’s rainbow palette.

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It’s not every day that one finds oneself in the company of a theatrical legend. Or a dame, for that matter. But that is one of the joys of our National Arts Festival – you never know who or what might come across your path. So it was that over a cup of coffee at the Readers and Writers Café in Eden Grove, I became acquainted with Dame Janet Suzman, iconic Shakespearean actress and director, and the woman whom many will remember for her definitive role in the movie Nicholas and Alexandra. Suzman received her DBE Honours from the Queen at a magnificent ceremony in Buckingham Palace last year. “The British really do know how to make an occasion unforgettable and theatrical,” she says.

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They do not just kill us physically, but also emotionally,” said Vuyiswa Kama, referring to the 2009 murders of people living with albinism. She was speaking at yesterday’s launch of Looking Inside, a book that aims to change society’s attitudes towards albinos. The book, to which Kama contributed, is one of three that were introduced at WordFest yesterday by the Human Rights Media Centre (HRMC).

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Porcupine headdresses and flashy fedoras adorned some of the 100 poets and writers from the Eastern Cape who attended the symbolic launch of this year’s WordFest. With beaded necklaces, djembes and cell phone cameras, the parade of participants was a blend of cultures and backgrounds.

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Yesterday morning’s sunshine brought a smile to the faces of most Festival-goers. But Machitún producer Nikki Froneman was ecstatic. With rainfall in Grahamstown having reached a new record this winter, the outdoor production has had some setbacks.

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“There is no such thing as original content, but how we handle it makes all the difference,” said Professor Kgositsile, speaking about artistic responsibility at WordFest earlier this week.There are a number of Festival productions this year that treat similar content in vastly different ways.

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Local disadvantaged youths are playing a new role in Festival this year. Under the leadership of youth development project Upstart and poet Harry Owen, these youths have put their problems onto paper, and are launching an anthology today as part of the Wordfest programme.

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Henry Miller said: “Whenever a taboo is broken, something good happens, something vitalising.” This year’s Festival has provided a space for some taboo issues – such as prostitution, colonialism, female circumcision, mental illness, polygamy and initiation – to be addressed. A taboo can be understood as a practice or meaning which is deemed forbidden or unacceptable in society. Gustav Kaltenbrun’s exhibition, Initiation Symbols, consists of paintings and metalwork based on male initiation ceremonies.

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