More than 30 learners from six schools in Knysna recently attended a Young Writers’ workshop, the first event of this year’s Knysna Literary Festival.

The learners, from Knysna High School, Knysna Secondary School, Percy Mdala High School, Concordia High School, Knysna Montessori School and Oakhill School, brainstormed ideas about the purpose of writing, deciding on a format, and adding pizzazz to writing.

Associate professor Rinelle Evans, University of Pretoria senior lecturer in education, travelled from Gauteng to run the workshop, assisted by Suzette de Villiers, Eden District Circuit Team Manager. The event, hosted by Conrad Pezula Resort and Spa, gave the learners a head start in the Young Writers’ Competition which closed on 15 February. 

Under the title ‘Let your Imagination Take Flight’, the Young Writers’ Competition challenged junior learners from 6-12 years to submit a poem and senior learners from 13 years-matric to write a short story in English, Afrikaans or isiXhosa. Special guest Shaka Sisulu, author of ‘Becoming’, will announce the prizewinners at Knysna High School at 13:00 on Tuesday 19 March.

Also on Friday 19 March, the Ubom Children’s Theatre Production of ‘Betti and the Yeti’, a show for 4-12 year olds, brimming with non-stop action, music to make feet tap, and sheer rollicking fun, will take place at Knysna Primary School.

Launched in 2010 by Ling Dobson of Pam Golding Properties Knysna, the Literary Festival aims to celebrate literature and promote literacy. “In addition to providing a literary feast for book lovers, our key objective is to inspire the youth of Knysna to take up reading, while contributing to non-profit initiatives in the community,” says Dobson.

“With support from sponsors we are able to contain costs and ensure that all funds, after disbursements, go directly to our beneficiaries.

“In 2012, the Festival donated approximately 30% of ticket sale proceedings to local beneficiaries. This year, our goal is to contribute a higher percentage of ticket sales as well as the full amount of any further donations to our two chosen charities.” 

For the second year, the Festival’s beneficiaries are the e’Pap Children’s Feeding Project, which feeds more than 4 500 children in the Garden Route area with a highly nutritious breakfast each school day, and TSiBA Eden, which trains matriculants from rural areas in business skills. “The Knysna Literary Festival is a perfect way to support the sterling work of these organisations in helping children and young adults make the most of their educational opportunities,” says Dobson.

Festival sponsors include Business and Arts South Africa (BASA), Conrad Pezula, Spar, Exclusive Books, Group Editors, Action Ads, Jane Simon Wine Ambassador and Ataraxia Wines. Bamboo Guest House, Leisure Isle Lodge, Hide-Away Guest House and Protea Hotel Knysna Quays are providing accommodation for authors participating in the Festival.

Bookings are now open for the fourth Knysna Literary Festival, 2013.


When:              Tuesday 19 March: Youth programme

                          Friday 22-Sunday 24 March: Meet the authors

Location:           Venues in and around Knysna, Garden Route.


Contact:            Sasha Campbell, 082 450 9301,   




Students (from left) Sinelizwi Mkhwebula, Sinesipho Didishe and Nandipha Mbovu celebrate the end of term 2012 at TSiBA Eden, one of the beneficiaries of the Knysna Literary Festival.

(Contact for a hi-res photo)


Viv Segal

082 442 6995


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