The Knysna Literature Festival 2016 featured authors include:

  David Grier

The renowned South African adventurer David Grier is not someone to rest on his laurels. He has run the length of the Great Wall of China, run a smile round the coastline of South Africa, paddled from Mozambique to Madagascar and then run the length of that island. He went on to run the length of Great Britain, run across Cuba and, in this book, traversed India. He does all this for the charity Cipla Miles for Smiles, which performs life-changing surgery on kids with cleft palates. A former chef, Grier also co-authored The Real Meal Revolution, a bestselling, record-breaking book that endorses low-carb, high-fat eating – an approach he uses to fuel his endurance running. David is a trustee and ambassador for the ‘Cipla Miles for Smiles Foundation’, raising funds through adventure for Operation Smile, South Africa, who perform corrective surgery on children born with cleft lips and palates.


  Emma Sadleir

Emma Sadleir and Tamsyn de Beer, who together run one of South Africa’s leading social media law consultancies, point out the social traps and legal tangles that you could find yourself facing as you navigate the murky waters of the digital age. In a fun, witty and easily accessible way, this ground-breaking book details the legal, disciplinary and reputational risks that you, your company and your children face online. By outlining the laws and rules applicable to what you do and say on social media, and providing practical and common sense advice, Don’t Film Yourself Having Sex ultimately shows you that in order to reap the extraordinary benefits of digital technology without succumbing to its risks, you need to start practising responsible digital citizenship.


  Ferial Haffajee

Ferial Haffajee is the Editor in Chief of City Press Newspaper. She is former Editor of the Mail & Guardian from 2004 to 2009 and the first woman Editor of this major South African newspaper. She is former Chairperson of the South African National Editor’s Forum. Haffajee sits on the boards of the International Womens Media Foundation, the World Editors Forum, the International Press Institute and the Inter Press Service.  


  Finuala Dowling

Finuala Dowling is an award-winning poet and novelist based in KalkBay.  Her most recent titles are The Fetch and Notes from the Dementia Ward (Kwela). When she is not writing, she is senior lecturer in the Centre for Extra-Mural Studies at UCT.  Several of her poetry students have gone on to publish collections of their own.


  Gareth Crocker

Gareth Crocker’s debut novel, Leaving Jack, was published in London in 2008. After the book’s successful run in the United Kingdom, the rights were bought by St Martin’s Press (Macmillan) in New York and it was renamed Finding Jack. It went on to perform strongly around the world. It was recorded into an audio book, published in nine volumes of Reader’s Digest Select Editions and film rights were sold. In 2014, Finding Jack was ranked as the number-one selling Action and Adventure novel on Kobo. At the time, Gareth’s mother claimed it was the best book she had read in days. At this point, Crocker was tempted to call up the many agents and publishers who had rejected him at the start of his career so that he could gently inform them of their catastrophic blunder. Of course, he never went through with it. Long-distance phone calls are expensive and Gareth’s never been able to fathom international dialling codes. So, instead, he emailed them each a video in which he points to the camera and laughs while thrusting his hips to the song ‘How do you like me now?’.

Following the success of Finding Jack, another four of Gareth’s novels were published in rapid succession by his lords and masters at Penguin Random House: Journey from Darkness, Never Let Go, King and, most recently, The Last Road Trip. Once again, several of these novels have been published by Reader’s Digest Select Editions – making history in the process. His third novel, Never Let Go, is currently being developed into a Hollywood film. Gareth hopes to play the role of ‘third extra from the door’ in the coffee-shop scene.


  Hugh Masekela 

Hugh Masekela is a giant of jazz – his wild and moving tale transcends the world of music. Unfolding against one of the most inspiring political transformations of the twentieth century, this is the engrossing chronicle of a remarkable, one-of-a-kind musical life.


  Ivo Vegter

Ivo Vegter is a journalist and columnist who writes for publications such as The Daily MaverickCAR magazine and ITWeb Brainstorm, and has occasionally reported for the Mail & GuardianThe Times and various other mainstream publications. Born in Holland, he was raised and educated in South Africa. (c) Andy Hadfield, 2011. Used with permission.


  Lauren Beukes

Lauren Beukes is the award-winning, bestselling author of Zoo City, Moxyland, The Shining Girls and Broken Monsters. Her books have been translated into 26 languages and optioned for film and TV.

Photo credit: Casey Crafford


  Mathews Phosa

Dr Nakedi Mathews Phosa was born in Mbombela township, Nelspruit, but grew up with his grandfather in a rural area near Potgietersrus (Mokopane). He matriculated at Orhovelani High School in Thulamahashe and in 1981 opened a legal practice in Nelspruit. He left South Africa in 1985 and in 1986 became the regional commander of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the military wing of the African National Congress (ANC), in Mozambique. Following the unbanning of the organisation in 1990, he was one of the first four members of the ANC to enter South Africa in order to start the process of negotiation with the National Party government. He played an important role in transition initiatives, including CODESA. As head of the ANC’s legal department, he often engaged in fierce debates with the minister of law and order, Hernus Kriel, over issues such as the joint investigation by the South African Police and the ANC into the death of Chris Hani. After the first democratic elections in 1994, Phosa was appointed premier of Mpumalanga, a position he held until 1999. In 1995, the University of Boston in the US awarded him an honorary doctorate. He has been a member of the ANC’s National Executive Committee since 1999 and was treasurer general from 2007 to 2012. Phosa speaks nine languages. In 1999 he published a volume of Afrikaans poetry called Deur die oog van ’n naald (Through the eye of a needle).


  Mzilikazi wa Afrika

Mzilikazi wa Afrika has won more than a dozen awards locally and internationally for his work and is currently the chairperson of the Forum for African Investigative Reporters, and sits on the board of the Global Investigative Journalism Network. He is also a musician, song-writer and producer, and released a deep-house album, The Icon, in 2008.


  Nik Rabinowitz

As the world’s leading Xhosa-speaking Jewish comic, Nik Rabinowitz is not only very funny, he also has a list of achievements the likes of which many can only aspire to. For instance. He once posed nude. Not because anyone asked him to, he just did it. Also, he represented South Africa at the Jewish Olympics, which is like the normal Olympics, but with more accountants. Nik comes to the Knysna Literary Festival to share his thoughts on the smorgasbord of dichotomy and paradoxical magnificence that is South Africa. 


  Pete Goffe-Wood

As a MasterChef South Africa judge, veteran food columnist and one of South Africa’s most recognisable celebrity chefs, Pete earned his stripes in some of the best restaurants in the country and abroad. Add to that his varied experience in hosting events, food pairings, demonstrations and weekend markets, as well as his role as a Y-chromosome culinary evangelist with his Kitchen Cowboy cooking classes for men, and his role as a local gastronomic guru cannot be overstated. His book A Life Digested, which charts his culinary adventures through the years, was published in 2014.


  Rob Caskie

Storytelling may seem like an old-fashioned tool, today — and it is. That’s exactly what makes it so powerful. Life happens in the narratives we tell one another. A story can go where quantitative analysis is denied admission: our hearts. Data can persuade people, but it doesn’t inspire them to act; to do that, you need to wrap your vision in a story that fires the imagination and stirs the soul. When you want to motivate, persuade, or be remembered, start with a story of human struggle and eventual triumph. It will capture people’s hearts – by first attracting their brains. Since 2004, I have presented extensively in theUnited KingdomandSouth Africato both corporate and private clients. My achievements were recognised with the honour of being invited to speak at the Royal Geographic Society inLondonto full houses. I believe there are powerful lessons to be learnt from the remarkable stories of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift, which resonate especially with audiences today. I also regularly present on Amundsen, Scott and Shackleton, along with a keynote presentation titled ‘Endurance: Shackleton’s way’. This talk highlights Shackleton’s unique leadership, choice of personnel and always believing in a positive outcome. Always confident with people, I thrive on the challenge and reward of entertaining audiences in the theatres of their imagination and transporting them via the power of a story well told.

I pride myself in unique storytelling and do not rely on electronic or visual aids – ‘when the lights trip, Rob does not’! 


  R W Johnson

R W JOHNSON is an Emeritus Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, and was the only South African Rhodes Scholar to return to live in South Africa after the fall of apartheid. He has published twelve books, scores of academic articles and innumerable articles for the international press. His former students include three members of the current British cabinet, an editor of The Economist and a large number of leading academics and journalists. He lives in Cape Town.


  Shaka Sizulu

A fresh, entertaining series of pocket books that feature prominent young South African voices worth listening to. The Youngsters series explores topics of interest to the youth, ranging from hair weaves to discovering who you are and what you should do with your life, as well as issues of race and gender, love and sex in the time of social networks, the music and radio industries, comedy, empowering yourself and more … The series shares the naked reality of being a youngster in South Africa and helps you to make sense of it all.

The Youngsters is edited by bestselling author and award-winning journalist Mandy Wiener.


    Songezo Zibi

Songezo Zibi is the Editor of Business Day the only stand alone and highly respected business daily paper. He spent the first fourteen years of his career in corporate communications at multinational companies, Volkswagen South Africa (1998 – 2006) and then at Xstrata South Africa (2006 -2013) where he served in its executive structures. He has written extensively in politics, society and the economy for various national publications before taking up his current position. He has written a book, Raising the Bar: Hope & Renewal in South Africa”.