The Knysna Literary Festival has launched the 2016 Young Writers Competition and is calling for entries from learners in the Sedgefield, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay areas.

The annual competition was first introduced in 2012 as part of the key objectives of the festival, which include inspiring the local youth to read by hosting writing workshops during the festival and throughout the year, and coordinating an annual competition for short stories and poetry.

Entry to the competition is free and open to junior (6 to 12 years) and senior learners (13 years to matric). Entries may be submitted in English, Afrikaans or isiXhosa.
The Junior competition calls for a short story of between 400 to 800 words based on one of the following subjects:

  • The power of the mind 
  • Africa my home 
  • My President 
  • My little habit 
  • The foreigner 
  • This is our time 
  • In the blink of an eye

Senior Learners are required to submit a poem of between 15 and 30 lines based on the same subjects.
A panel of judges will select the finalists from each category and the winners will be announced on Thursday, 17 March 2016 at Knysna Primary School Hall at 12h00. The first prize for both competitions for each language category is a MP3 Player. Second prize is a selfie stick.

Competition entry forms, which can be downloaded from the festival website,, must accompany the entries. These should be on A4 size paper and must be handed in to the Pam Golding Properties office in Gray Street, Knysna. Only one entry per learner is allowed.

The closing date for submissions is Monday, 22 February 2016. All winning entries will be published by The Knysna Literary Festival.

About the Knysna Literary Festival

The seventh annual Knysna Literary Festival will take place from Thursday 17 to Sunday 20 March 2016.

The four-day event promises an enthralling programme of current affairs, politics, history and adventure, centred around best-selling local and international authors, who will entertain and delight audiences with readings, conversations, debates and workshops.

Festival founder Ling Dobson says that the aim of the Festival is to expose locals and visitors to South Africa’s literary talent. “But my mission is also to stimulate the children of the greater Knysna area by encouraging reading and writing, and by contributing to local charities that focus on childhood development and education.”

The 2016 programme will provide attendees with a number of unique literary experiences, from engaging with authors in small group workshops or participating in larger presentations, to mingling with authors while sipping local wine at some of Knysna’s most exclusive private real estate.

The extremely popular Delicious Word Journey will return as will the annual sell-out event, Fate of the Nation, featuring a panel of writers in a vital discussion about the current political climate in South Africa.

A children’s interactive programme will include children’s theatre, and the annual Young Writer’s Award, a creative writing competition for various age groups, which attracts entries in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa.

The full programme, which will be published before the end of January, includes a fantastic line-up of authors, such as Hugh Masekela, whose autobiography, Still Grazing, was released in South Africa last month; Lauren Beukes, author of The Shining Girls, Zoo City (winner of the Arthur C Clarke Award), Moxyland and Broken Monsters; Ferial Haffajee, editor of the City Press newspaper and previously editor of the Mail & Guardian newspaper; and Pete Goffe-Wood, celebrity chef, MasterChef South Africa judge and author of Kitchen Cowboys.

Tickets will go on sale on 1 February at the Pam Golding Properties Knysna office, located at 5 Gray Street.

For more information, call 044 382 5574, email or visit

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