The Festival has grown in stature over the past few years and is now regarded as a major attraction on theGarden Routecalendar. The festival was launched in 2010 by Ling Dobson of Pam Golding Properties Knysna and aims to promote our rich literary heritage.
Current affairs, politics, history, adventure, mystery and a dash of cuisine – were the themes of this year’s Knysna Literary Festival and a similar mix of topics will be presented next year. Authors who have participated in past events include crime writer Deon Meyer (7 Days), Adriaan Basson (Zuma Exposed), Mandy Wiener (Killing Kebble), McIntosh Polela (My Father, My Monster) and other award-winning authors such as Mike Nicol, Riaan Manser, Shaka Sisulu, Rahla Xenopolous, Ingrid de Kok, Margie Orford and Olympian Ryk Neethling.
A highlight of the Festival is the Delicious Word Journey on Pezula Private Estate. This year, insights from authors wove a thread along the remarkable journey as guests visited exquisite homes hosted by McIntosh Polela, Adriaan Basson, Riaan Manser and Sarah Graham, whose cookbook ‘Bitten’ inspired much of the cuisine.
The Festival’s goal is not only to expose locals and visitors alike toSouth Africa’s literary talent, but also to stimulate the children of the greater Knysna area by encouraging reading and writing.
This year, we achieved a record attendance of 1 500 at the main events, close to double last year’s figure, while highly participative audiences of approximately 1 000 learners attended the children’s theatre. The young writers’ competition attracted entries in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa, and will be extended to a wider range of rural schools next year.
‘Local is lekker’ underlies the organiser’s philosophy, with catering, sound/video equipment, transport services, PR/Marketing/Social Media, Website/Design work, all sourced from within Knysna.
All events were very well received by the public and this was evident in that they were all sold out showing that the organisers had chosen a good mix of speakers and workshops. The authors have been extremely positive regarding their involvement. As raconteur Rob Caskie noted: “Clearly the event has grown and matured under the exceptional guidance of Ling Dobson and Sasha Campbell, along with their wonderful team, into a week Knysna looks forward to, and benefits from hugely.”
The Exclusive Books team sums it up: “With names like Deon Meyer, Shaka Sisulu, Adriaan Basson and Riaan Manser, you could expect an interesting time at the fourth annual Literary Festival in Knysna. But nothing could really prepare us for the sheer spontaneity and rich atmosphere the combination of these and many more South African authors achieved at the well-organised events during these four days.”
In addition to providing a literary feast for book lovers, one of the Festival’s key objectives is to contribute to non-profit initiatives in the community and help young adults make the most of their educational opportunities. Support from the public and sponsors such as Business and Arts South Africa (BASA), Conrad Pezula, Spar, Exclusive Books, Group Editors and Action Ads, along with wine and accommodation sponsors, helps us to contain costs and achieve this aim.
This year we were able to make substantial donations to our two beneficiaries: the e’Pap Children's Feeding Project, which feeds more than 4 500 children in theGarden Routearea with a highly nutritious breakfast each school day, and TSiBA Eden, which trains matriculants from rural areas in business skills.
Challenge your senses! Come and join us for a real literary experience in Knysna.