Skip to content

Strong cast of Karoo talent enriches Writers Festival

LAUNCHING on Youth Day and targeting expressive arts into Karoo classrooms, the 2022 Schreiner Karoo Writers Festival (SKWF, Cradock 16 to 21 June) once again activates a multi-faceted educational outreach along with a main programme.

Activities on the youth program run from 16 to 21 June, while the main program is scheduled from 17 and 18 June.

“We are very excited to enjoy the generous ongoing involvement support of The AVBOB Poetry Project for our vision of giving young people a confident voice,” said Melina Smit, convener of youth events at the festival and Senior Education Specialist at the Eastern Cape Department of Education.

Free digital books

Founding sponsor of the festival, AMAZWI South African Museum of Literature, is sending a ground-force for dynamic interaction with numbers of Cradock schools.

During the last two days of the event, the AMAZWI team will spiral out into the community, introducing 20 digital children’s books which were created during the recent Big Makhanda Book Dash X. (Cradock-based writer, Charmaine van Wyk, had a hand in one of the titles.)

These e-books will be distributed on memory sticks and are copyright free for printing.

Main program

Events on this year’s main program shift between four venues: talks at Schreiner House (an AMAZWI satellite); across the road the Cross Street Pop-Up Fusion Arts Hub offers an interactive experience titled ‘Where Words and Art Collide’; around the corner in Market Street, Couch Conversations will be interspersed with Fusion Performance Art events at Die Tuishuise and Victoria Manor Hotel (also known as The Vic); each day will culminate in a Late Night Open Mic session (from 20:00) at KarooBrew Bistro in Durban Street.

Appropriately, the main program opens at Schreiner House with AMAZWI director, Beverley Thomas as an anchor.

She will affirm the literary museum’s commitment to events like SKWF.

In a show of support two of her colleagues, Marike Beyers, Crystal Warren, will read their own poetry, along with Jeannie McKeowen, all have work published in The Only Magic We Know, an anthology celebrating 15 years of poetry by South African women published by Modjaji Books.

Professor Paul Walters and Jeremy Fogg re-enact the dramatic (and very amusing story) of Olive Schreiner’s rescue from the Zambezi – she could easily have been swept over Vic Falls!

Dean Allen will talk about his Frontier Land and Marike Beyers will review poet Kobus Moolman’s response to the Karoo landscape.

Also inspired by the Karoo Landscape, Izak de Vries will reflect on how his writing has progressed since his early work Van die Karoo gepraat.

Award-winning writer Henrietta Rose-Innes will share her experiences of writing and translating Afrikaans fiction.

couch conversations

In the afternoon, The Vic will lay on high tea as an accompaniment to the couch conversation between food writer extraordinaire Tony Jackman and Sally (Tannie Maria) Andrew about The Milk Tart Murders. Chris Marais and Julienne du Toit of Karoospace follow with a winsome audio-visual presentation on Karoo Roads III.

Anything could happen (and probably will) at KarooBrew’s after-dinner Open Mic session – expect some funky impromptu and ad lib performance.

After Saturday breakfast a bevy of local writers propose that Laughter is the only medicine. Next in focus: Etienne van Heerden, Litnet writer Izak de Vries and his translator Henrietta Rose-Innes talk about Etienne’s book Die Biblioteek aan die Einde van die Wêreld.


The main programme’s key-note theme for SKWF 2022 is networking. On Saturday morning, this important topic will be addressed from different perspectives by a strong line-up of speakers.

Film writer Dorothy de Kok will chair, speakers include Bridgette Harrison, (Royal School of Music), Ayande Mamve (opera singer) Zongezile Matshoba and Bev Thomas (AMAZWI), Etienne van Heerden (Litnet), Izak de Vries (PEN international), Martin Welz (Noseweek), Chris and Julie Marais (indie publishers) Sally Andrew (Recipes for Love and Murder – from books to TV).

Lunch will be served along with an interchange of anecdotes and recipes between two editors: Tony Jackman (editor of Daily Maverick’s TGIFood) and Martin Welz (editor of Noseweek).

Die gezoem van die Bye is a nostalgic session with Des Lindberg and Di Cassere.

Interactive arts installation

Open from 10:00 to 16:00 on Thursday 16 June through to Tuesday 21 June, the Cross Street Pop-Up Fusion Arts Hub will showcase many weeks of preparation by The AVBOB Poetry Project in collaboration with AMAZWI’s multi-talented Basil Mills.

They have erected an interactive pop-up experience involving artists Janet Kingwill and Nthambo Ndamebeni and introducing three young local artists – Indi Ndlokova (Poet) and visual artists Jaco de Waal and Zama Kondlo.

“Many people in rural areas make art but seldom visit art museums or galleries to experience art installations up close and personal,” said Lisa Ker, Festival Organiser.

“So, this will be a rare and delightful experience – underscoring our belief that art is healing, creative and can help bind communities together: one of our cornerstone objectives.”

connections and synergies

The SKWF has ‘bound together’ a family of connected creatives over the years, with synergies and networking opportunities that multiply endlessly.

The closing Open Mic session at KarooBrew is a celebration of that continuum.

Lisa Ker reiterated the festival’s gratitude to Amazwi and The AVBOB Poetry Project for their invaluable support in the ongoing process.

As a special Karoo wind-down, visitors and participants are encouraged to spend Sunday in the beckoning spaces of the Karoo – the nearby Mountain Zebra National Park or Buffelskop where Olive Schreiner is buried.

  • For more information contact SKWF organiser, Lisa Ker 082 410 5596 or email:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.