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2018 Authors

The Knysna Literature Festival 2018 featured authors include:

  Adriaan Basson

Adriaan Basson is an award-winning South African journalist and editor. He cut his teeth at the Afrikaans daily newspaper Die Beeld in 2003, where he was later to become editor. In 2016 he was appointed as editor of South Africa’s largest news site, News24.


  Clive Walker

Clive Walker is well known for his work in rhino conservation. He is the author of Baobab Trails (Jacana Media, 2013), The Rhino Keepers (Jacana Media , 2012) and River of Gold (Jacana Media, 2016). Clive entered the battle for the rhino with the founding of the Endangered Wildlife Trust in 1973. He cofounded the Rhino and Elephant Foundation and the African Rhino Owners Association, and served on the IUCN African Rhino Specialist Group for close on 20 years.


  Glynnis Breytenbach

Over a legal career spanning 26 years, advocate Glynnis Breytenbach earned a reputation as one of the country’s most formidable state prosecutors, her infamous stare piercing the defences of many. Now a member of parliament and the Democratic Alliance’s shadow minister for justice, Glynnis finally shares how her life in and out of court shaped her into the outspoken, sometimes hard-headed, always principled woman she is, and the public figure she never wanted to be. In Rule of Law, Glynnis provides personal commentary on the evolution and importance of an independent judiciary in South Africa, and explains why the rule of law is critical to the foundation and the future of the country. Her account offers fascinating insights, a critical analysis of some of South Africa’s recent legal and political cliffhangers, and a suggestion as to how the law can help us find a way forward as a country.

  Jacques Pauw

Journalist and author Jacques Pauw was a founder member of the anti-apartheid Afrikaans newspaper Vrye Weekblad in the late 1980s, where he exposed the Vlakplaas police death squads. He worked for some of the country’s most esteemed publications before becoming a documentary filmmaker, producing documentaries on wars and conflicts in Rwanda, Burundi, Algeria, Liberia, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone, among other countries. When he left journalism in 2014, he was the head of investigations at Media24 newspapers. He has won the CNN African Journalist of the Year Award twice, the Daniel Pearl Award for Outstanding International Investigative Reporting in the US, Italy’s Ilaria Alpi and the Nat Nakasa award for bravery and integrity in journalism. He is the author of five books: four nonfiction and one fiction. They are In the Heart of Whore, Into the Heart of Darkness, Dances with Devils, Rat Roads and Little Ice Cream Boy. Three of his books have been shortlisted for major literary awards.

  Jeremy Thompson

Until his retirement at the end of 2016, Jeremy Thompson was one of the longest-serving journalists and news anchors in the UK. During a forty-year career in television news, Thompson gained a reputation as the consummate broadcaster, latterly as the anchor of Sky News’ early evening programme, though as frequently broadcasting on location from the heart of the story. Thompson worked for all the major news broadcasters in the UK: the BBC, ITV and finally Sky, where he started as a foreign correspondent in 1993. He covered many of the most important news events of our time and reported from all over the world, picking up countless awards for his work. The first TV journalist to broadcast live as British peacekeeping forces arrived in Kosovo, he also covered the first Gulf War and, in 2003, anchored Sky News’ coverage of the second Gulf War from Iraq. There he presented every night for a month on the front line and was the first anchor to present from inside Baghdad. He was also in South Africa to cover the death of Nelson Mandela and the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius. This extraordinary book tells the life story of one of the nation’s most popular broadcasters.

  Joan Louwrens

Knysna provides the anchor and peaceful sanctuary for Joan, a medical doctor by trade, but a wandering adventurer by desire. She has had the privilege of working on all seven continents and on a few oceans between them, sometimes in a standard hospital setting, but more frequently, as a bicycle expedition or ship’s doctor. Africa, however, always pulls her back. It is also where she raised her two young daughters singlehandedly, after she was irrevocably derailed from conventionality by the tragic death of her young husband. Unsurprisingly, they too have inherited curiosity and the wandering gene. Although Joan has always been drawn to the written word and kept personal accounts, it was a desire to record for her daughters, the life of the father they never knew, which gave her the incentive to start writing a book. It grew from his biography to part memoir, part adventure medicine, part travelogue and an honest portrayal of a young doctor, pushing boundaries, with an appetite for risk and a desire to experience the exhilaration of the moment. The book illustrates the mantra she often repeated to her girls as they navigated through the obstacles of their early lives - “With effort, anything is possible.”

  Prof Jonathan Jansen

Professor Jonathan Jansen is currently working at the Stellenbosch University in the Education Department. With free education promised by President Jacob Zuma, registration at our universities may well be very fraught. Professor Jansen will be available for comment and interviews. In his book As by Fire, Professor Jansen delves into the unprecedented disruption of universities that caught South Africa by surprise. In frank interviews with eleven of the VCs most affected, he examined the forces at work, why the protests escalate into chaos, and what is driving – and exasperating – our youth.

  Liezie Mulder

Liezie Mulder is the co-owner and head chef of Knysna’s popular café and artisan bakery, île de païn. Liezie trained as a chef in the US, working under inspirational chefs in esteemed kitchens. It was here she met her life and business partner, master baker Markus Färbinger. Together, Liezie and Markus started île de païn on a wing and a prayer when they returned to Knysna in 2002. Local whispers soon spread about a small café on Thesen Islands offering the authentic coffee, croissants and sandwiches. île de païn has grown up and expanded into a rich and extensive restaurant, but stayed close to its roots in offering authentic food that celebrates the ingredients. Liezie wrote her first recipe book “Café Food” in 2009 in a desire to share her passion for food and illustrate that marvelous dishes can be made at home by anyone. Her new cook book has a very personal quality and is inspired by travels, friends and family and the colourful day-to-day life at île de païn. 

  Mandy Wiener

Mandy Wiener is an award-winning investigative journalist and author of the true-crime bestsellers Killing Kebble: An Underworld Exposed and Behind the Door: The Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp Story and the acclaimed memoir My Second Initiation (co-written with Advocate Vusi Pikoli).Wiener has been reporting on crime, the courts and politics in South Africa for the past decade. 

  Michael Charton

Michael is a Capetonian whose enthusiasm for the story of South Africa has gradually lured him away from his corporate career. Having qualified as a chartered accountant and spent time in a financial advisory role in the United States, Michael returned to Cape Town in 2007 where, during a short career in advertising, he was awoken to the art and power of storytelling. In 2010, following an unorthodox project for an advertising client, Michael began telling stories. And by 2015, Michael had developed and told a number of original non-fiction stories; drawing inspiration from South Africa’s history, which he studied through UNISA. Michael’s passion for South Africa’s past eventually saw him resign his role as a financial director; throwing caution to the wind, and founding INHERIT SOUTH AFRICA: An enterprise aiming to expose untold stories from the past for entertainment and nation building.

  Pieter du Toit

Pieter Du Toit is a political journalist and has held senior positions at a number of Afrikaans titles, including political correspondent and news editor at Die Beeld in Johannesburg. In 2016 he was appointed Deputy Editor of the newly launched Huffington Post South Africa. He has covered politics for more than a decade.

  Ranjeni Munusamy 

Ranjeni Munusamy is a survivor of the Salem witch trials and has the scars to show it. She has a substantial collection of tattered t-shirts from having “been there and done it” – from government, the Zuma trials, spin-doctoring and upsetting the applecart in South African newsrooms. Following a rather unexciting exorcism ceremony, she traded her femme-fatale gear for a Macbook and a packet of Liquorice Allsorts. Her graduation Cum Laude from the School of Hard Knocks means she knows a thing or two about telling the South African story.

  Richard Steyn

Richard Steyn, a graduate of Stellenbosch University, practised as a lawyer before switching to journalism. He edited the Natal Witness in Pietermaritzburg from 1975-90, was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1985/86, and editor in chief of The Star from 1990-95. He served as Standard Bank’s Director of Corporate Affairs and Communications from 1996-2001, before returning to writing, book reviewing and publishing.

  Sally Andrew

Sally Andrew is the author of the bestselling Recipes for Love and Murder and Tannie Maria & The Satanic Mechanic. She lives in a mud-brick house on a nature reserve in the Klein Karoo with her artist partner, a giant eland, and a secretive leopard. She also spends time in the wilderness of southern Africa and the seaside suburb of Muizenberg. She has a master’s degree in adult education from the University of Cape Town. Before settling down to write full time, she was a social and environmental Activist.

  Sam Cowen

Sam Cowen is the longest-running female morning show host in the country, having worked Joburg’s biggest breakfast show on 94.7 for over 18 years with radio icons Jeremy Mansfield and Darren Whackhead Simpson. In 2015 she replaced Jenny Crwys-Williams on the wildly popular 1pm–3pm slot on 702. She currently co-hosts the Weekend Breakfast Show on 702/Cape Talk with Africa Melane. Sam is also the bestselling author of Waiting for Christopher and Good Enough Mother, two popular books on motherhood.



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