One for the books

THE fourth annual Schreiner Karoo Writers Festival, to be held in Cradock early next month, will boast some big names on a diverse programme.

The festival has “taken off”, according to Brian Wilmot, organising committee member and curator of the Olive Schreiner Museum in Cradock.

Lovers of the Karoo, and of reading and of writing, will get the chance to socialise with the likes of Etienne van Heerden, Margie Orford and Rachel Holmes during talks, readings, leisurely meals and fireside chats.

Internationally renowned Van Heerden is the leading South African novelist of his generation. He hails from Doornbosch farm near Cradock and says this area is his own “landscape of the mind”.

He will talk about In Love’s Place – to be released at the festival – the English translation of his In Stede van die Liefde.

Queen of South African crime literature, Orford will have a fifth Dr Clare Hart thriller out at just about the same time as the festival.

Her courageous heroine is a fearless investigative journalist-turned-profiler who enjoys getting away from it all every now and then.

Holmes ran the London Literature Festival for four years – just one of her many interventions on the international book scene.

Recently, she has spent time in Cradock researching the relationship between Olive Schreiner and Eleanor Marx (daughter of Karl), which Holmes calls “one of the most crucial political, personal and emotional friendships of the period”.

Her book on Eleanor Marx is due out early next year. Holmes’s previous books include biographies of Saartjie Baartman and Dr James Barry, a brilliant 19th century army doctor whose gender identity has caused a great deal of speculation.

The list of other published writers on the programme includes Clinton V du Plessis (poetry), Ezelle Marais (cookery), Barbara Mutch (fiction), Harry Owen (poetry), Doreen Atkinson (social history) and Alfred Schaffer (Dutch poet). Excursions during the festival include a trip to Olive Schreiner’s grave on a nearby hilltop and walks around Cradock’s numerous literary landmarks.

For more information about the festival which takes place from August 9 to 11, special package rates and the programme, visit the Facebook site (Schreiner Karoo Writers Festival) or get in touch with Lisa Ker:

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