Creative festival brings together poets, authors, aspirant writers from Africa

POETS, authors and upcoming writers will get to showcase their literary works at a week-long 13th Time of the Writer International Artists Festival.

The annual event is an initiative of the University of KwaZulu-Natal Creative Arts Centre in conjunction with the Department of Arts and Culture and will run until March 13. The festival started on Tuesday.

The event has been known to provide a platform for international and local artists to share their work.

This year's event will introduce local debutant writer Thando Mgqolozana, whose book has set tongues wagging.

It informs readers, about the importance of sacred traditional practices.

The book, titled A man who is not a man, details the pain and trauma in the life of a young Xhosa initiate after his circumcision goes wrong during his passage to manhood.

Mgqolozana said attending the event would allow him to engage with other experienced writers, answer readers' questions and participate in discussions.

"There has been a positive response from those who have read the book," Mgqolozana said. "Some have gone through initiation themselves.

"In 2009 about 100 people died at initiation schools. This is a matter that should be debated."

Mgqolozana said the publication of his book has given him great exposure.

Centre for Creative Arts director Peter Rovrik said the main objective of this year's festival was to bring the continent's writers together and celebrate writers and literature.

"We have invited writers from all over Africa to embrace literature. The festival puts writers and literature in the public domain, and provides a chance for the public to have a dialogue with the writers," Rovrik said.

Readings, discussions and book launches will take place every night at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Seminars, workshops, school visits, and a prison writing programme have been formulated to promote a culture of reading, writing and creative expression.

Tickets are R25 for evening sessions and R10 for students at Computicket or at the door. Entry to workshops and seminars is free.