Franschhoek Literary Festival 2009

The Winelands village of Franschhoek opens its doors again for a third celebration of books and writers

The Franschhoek Literary Festival
(FLF) was started in 2007 as a festival run along the same lines as the Cheltenham and Hay-on Wye festivals, with two main aims: to bring a broad spectrum of good and accessible South African writers together for informal discussions, and in so doing to encourage a reading culture in our valley and the broader Western Cape community.

Funds raised from the Festival are devoted to classroom libraries which supply new age-appropriate books to crèches and schools within the Franschhoek community.

The Delta Trust (associated with the Solms Delta wine farm in Franschhoek), was the founding sponsorof the Franschhoek literary festival and has been instrumental in giving this Festival prominence and profile.

This Trust funds educational and community initiatives in the valley, and their CSI investment was extended to include the Franschhoek Literary Festival.

“A book can change your life. You can read yourself out of poverty” (Annari van der Merwe, publisher, Umuzi).

With this in mind and coupled with the fact that Franschhoek is an area with huge economical and social diversity, the organizers of the 2009 literary festival set about creating a festival that would attract readers and create a buzz of excitement about books and reading in an intimate village atmosphere.

Christopher Hope, the well-known South African author, is the Director of the Festival and inspired the idea. Together with Jenny Hobbs, (author and journalist), James Woodhouse (freelance editor) and a voluntary committee of Franschhoek residents, the festival was up and running within 9 months, aided by the supportive local community, particularly some renowned guest houses.

At last year’s Literary Festival there were 48 writers and chairpeople, six Commonwealth Writers’ Prize finalists, Commonwealth personnel, many journalists and well over 2 000 visitors, making it one of the foremost literary festivals in South Africa.

The choice of writers is crucial to the enjoyment of readers of all abilities, as this is not a snooty academic festival but a celebration of books. Authors ranged from Pulitzer Prize-winning Richard Ford to first novelists, crime writers to poets, serious political biographers to storytellers.

We live in an age where so much of our lives is pre-packed, synthetic and plastic, and where communication is electronic, fast and technologically driven, so this is a conscious drive to promote literacy and the love of books and writing, enhanced by classical music.

It is a chance for visitors to the festival to interact with diverse cultures, a chance to walk from venue to venue in beautiful surroundings, a chance to take time to savour the written and spoken word, a time to experience “books that are carriers of civilization and are engines of change” (Barbara Tuchman) and finally to experience ‘humanity in print’.

The2009 Literary Festival
contributes greatly to Franschhoek’s appeal as a place that nurtures creativity, a fine example of communication and commitment in a spirit of enjoyment: three days of book talk in a stroll-around village with an ambience as warm as its welcome.

In our event section you can read more about the event details of the 2009 Franschhoek Literary Festival.

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