During the last weekend in July, the KWV Building Complex and the Old Mission Church in Montagu’s Long Street will host a variety of authors and panelists as part of the annual Montagu Book Festival. Proudly sponsored by Wesgro.
The Festival will kick off in style on Thursday evening, 25 July, with an official opening address by well-loved educator and valuable noise-maker Prof Jonathan Jansen.
Friday 26 July sees individual author's sessions by local writers like Anne Dreyer Erasmus and Colin Johnson. Patricia Schonstein will entertain audiences with poetry readings “of portraits, dorpies and plaas”. Cape Town-based psychologist and trauma counsellor Jacques le Roux will examine the complex relationships between the characters in his Boer War novel Donker Bloeisel.
On Friday afternoon the fun continues with more individual sessions by established South African authors like Theo Kemp and Don Pinnock. Karina Szczurek will also be in conversation with novelist Melissa A. Volker.
On Friday evening well-informed and opinionated political commentators like Jan-Jan Joubert, Leon Schreiber and Prof Christi van der Westhuizen will look into the crystal ball to predict a few likely scenarios for the post-election political landscape in the country. Prof Jonathan Jansen will lead this panel discussion. Local bands will end -off the evening with some foot-stomping entertainment.
While Ernie Mellett of the Amateur Skrywersbond will host a writer's workshop in the KWV Building on Saturday morning, the Old Mission Church will be the venue for more individual author's sessions, with names like Irma Joubert, poet Finuala Dowling and Tania Smit of Hekelwoorde fame contributing. Jan-Jan Joubert will report for his second tour of duty with a talk on biographies.
Adventurer and cook David Grier will host a lunchtime talk about his four books, inspired by his heroic runs through India and China.
On Saturday afternoon Wilhelm Verwoerd will talk about his attempts to make peace with his own family history, as described in his book Verwoerd: My Journey Through Family Betrayals. Prof Duncan Brown, of the Centre for Multilingualism and Diversities Research at the University of the Western Cape, will enlighten the audience about the wildness in all of us, as examined in his newly published book Wilder Lives: Humans and Our Environments.
After this, a panel discussion on agriculture will tackle topics of interest and importance to all role-players in the local farming industry.
Saturday evening will end with a delicious food-and-wine pairing, combined with a cabaret-style show, Adam Small: Ons Salueer Jou, dedicated to the writings of this beloved poet, with music composed and performed by the Tribal Echo Trio.
On Sunday morning engineer-turned-novelist Jopie Coetzee will talk about Aangeraak, his new book that focuses on the characters involved in the events leading up to the original Easter crucifixion and burial. Poet Shirmoney Rhode will balance things with a performance of some of her hard-hitting yet lyrical poetry,
The Festival ends with a final panel discussion, From Church to Community Builder - A New Role for Religious Institutions. Panelists including André Bartlett of the Dutch Reformed Church's Centre for Continuing Ministerial Development, Rev Spiwo Xapile, senior pastor of JL Zwane Memorial Church in Guguletu, and Rev Michelle Boonzaaier of Inclusive and Affirming Ministries, will discuss whether religious institutions have what it takes to be community builders. Carel Anthonissen, previous director of the Centre for Christian Spirituality, and a poet in his own right, will lead this discussion.
Tickets for all authors’ sessions and panel discussions, at R150 for the whole weekend, R100 for a single day, and R50 for a single session, are available from Montagu-Ashton Tourism Association Office, at 24 Bath Street. These tickets prices exclude the food-and-wine pairing and Adam Small show, which will be priced separately.