Writers’ event centres on travel and its effects on perspectives

The festival programme will also feature more outings.

Catherine Knox

Eastern Cape travel blogger Anje Rautenbach, of goingsomewhereslowly.com, will talk about her adventures on the open road during the Karoo Writers Festival in Cradock in June
Eastern Cape travel blogger Anje Rautenbach, of goingsomewhereslowly.com, will talk about her adventures on the open road during the Karoo Writers Festival in Cradock in June
Image: Supplied

Travel and how it can shift perspectives is a big theme for the forthcoming Karoo Writers Festival to be held in Cradock from June 6 to 8.

The programme will feature some of the big names in travel writing in the province, among them Anje Rautenbach, of the blog goingsomewhereslowly. com, Toast Coetzer, of Weg/Go magazine, and Karoospace’s Chris Marais and Julienne du Toit.

Between them, they clock up thousands of kilometres a year in their pursuit of places, stories and pictures while work

ing across media in radio, print and online.

The festival programme will also feature more outings than in previous years.

Destinations will include sundowners with the late Harry Potter (and co) in the town’s old cemetery, plant-hunting on Oukop, humour on the banks of the Great Fish, the traditional pilgrimage to the Schreiner Sarcophagus on Buffelskop and the writers’ gallery at the Fish River Museum – part of an expanded literary walking tour.

At Victoria Manor on Friday June 6 the Karoospace team will present a workshop on The Karoo travel experience: seeing the countryside through a photojournalist’s eyes.

“It will be an interactive session on how to better record your travel experiences through images and storytelling,”Du Toit said.

Later on the same afternoon, the Karoospace team will present the most recent in their series of sundowner slide-shows which have been a firm favourite with festival audiences for eight years.

Marais and Du Toit have become household names through their books, and travel stories for SA Country Life and other national publications.

“It would be impossible to measure the value of what they have done for keeping the platteland alive and on the map,” festival organiser Lisa Ker said.

Rautenbach, of goingsomewhereslowly.com, is one of the new generation of bloggers.

Her exceptional writing and photography has won her the devotion of more than 35,000 followers across various online platforms.

On Saturday June 7, Rautenbach will share tips for aspiring bloggers and entertain the audience with behind-the-scenes adventures of a solo traveller who explores off the beaten track “in slow motion”.

Photographer, writer and poet Coetzer will present work from his most recent publication: an album featuring his band, The Buckfever Underground, and the accompanying songbook, The Last Days of Beautiful.

Music and travel are also major interests for Dutch-born writer Fred de Vries, who will share the stage with novelist Jo-Anne Richards on the Saturday 7 June).

He has published several fascinating books featuring music and beat culture, and currently teaches travel writing online via allaboutwritingcourses.com

The joint presentation at the festival will show how a novelist – Richards – and a documentary writer – De Vries – used different details about the same small town, Vrede, for different expressive purposes.

Richards has said “food is part of travel writing”, which would mean the festival’s grand Karoo dinner on the Saturday is another travel experience with two Karoo-based foodie writers – Gordon Wright and Tony Jackman – comparing notes and discussing the pairing of their recipes with Leopard’s Leap wines.

The programme also includes poetry readings, three book launches, a pop-up bookstore, a writing workshop with Richards and a three-day youth programme sponsored by the Avbob Poetry Project.

For more information visit www.karoowritersfestival.weebly.com or send an e-mail to karoowritersfestival@gmail.com