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2017 Authors

The Knysna Literature Festival 2017 featured authors include:

  Anastacia Tomson

"I stand in front of the mirror as I remind myself that I don’t have to wear the uniform anymore. I don’t have to dress myself in men’s attire. I can grow out my nails, and paint them with polish. I am finally free to have my ears pierced. I can speak in the voice that I’ve spent so many hours cultivating with my speech therapist. I don’t have to hide my disgust anymore at being called “boet” or “sir”. I no longer have to tolerate any references to my deadname.”

Anastacia has fought hard for her right to live, held back for decades by a body that didn’t fit, and an identity that never belonged to her. At first, it had seemed impossible – like transition was some romantic, impractical ideal that was incompatible with reality. But now, after five months of hormone therapy, countless sessions of painful laser hair removal, multiple appointments with doctors and psychologists, it is very much a reality.

Born into a Jewish family in Johannesburg and raised by her parents as a boy, Anastacia Tomson was never sure just how much of her persistent internal discomfort to blame on an often troubled family life. She qualified and practised as a doctor, but it would take a great deal more clear-sighted and difficult questioning to finally find peace and self-acceptance, as a woman. This memoir is a clarion call for a more nuanced understanding of trans people and the concepts of sex, gender and identity.

 

     
  Don Pinnock

Cape Town is two cities. One is beautiful beyond imagining, known since its beginning as the 'fairest cape' in the world. Here tourists come to lounge on beaches, scale misty peaks and dine in fine restaurants.

The other is one of the most dangerous cities in the world, where police need bullet-proof vests and sometimes army backup. Here gangs of young men rule the night with heavy calibre handguns, dispensing heroin, cocaine, crystal meth and fear. 

This is a story of the second city... 

In Gang Town, investigative journalist and criminologist Don Pinnock draws on more than thirty years of research to provide a nuanced and definitive portrait of youngsters caught up in violent crime.

     

     
  Fred Khumalo

Who are these Guptas who are so powerful, they’re distributing cabinet posts like matrons handing out condoms at a brothel? Who do Americans think they are, accusing Trevor Noah of ‘stealing’ a joke from one of their comedians? Is Sizakele MaKhumalo Zuma’s spaza shop a National Key Point?

In #ZuptasMustFall, and other rants, Fred Khumalo runs riot, contemplating the pressing issues that continue to confound, infuriate and exasperate the nation – or to sink it into further controversy.

Covering a wide range of topics, including politics, history, current events and celebrity gossip, this compilation of recent and new writings contains Khumalo’s trademark blend of humour and shrewd analysis, as well as his treatment of everyday issues from a uniquely South African perspective.

This is an entertaining collection of thoughts from one of the country’s most seasoned journalists, offering many questions, and tongue-in-cheek answers, on who we are as a nation, where we are going, and how we compare to the rest of the world.

 

 
  Helen Zille

Helen Zille’s long-awaited autobiography is one of the most fascinating political stories of our time. Zille takes the reader back to her humble family origins, her struggle with anorexia as a young woman, her early career as a journalist for the Rand Daily Mail, and her involvement with the End Conscription Campaign and the Black Sash. She documents her early days in the Democratic Party and the Democratic Alliance, at a time when the party was locked in a no-holds-barred factional conflict. And she chronicles the intense political battles to become mayor of Cape Town, leader of the DA and premier of the Western Cape, in the face of dirty tricks from the ANC and infighting within her own party.
This is a story about political intrigue and treachery, floor-crossing and unlikely coalitions, phone tapping and intimidation, false criminal charges and judicial commissions. It documents Zille’s courageous fight against corruption and state capture and her efforts to realign politics and entrench accountability. And it describes a mother’s battle to raise children in the pressured world of South African politics.
 
This book is as frank, honest and unflinching as Helen Zille herself, and will appeal to anyone interested in the story of South African politics over the past fifty years.
 

 
  JJ Thabane

South Africa has been in the grip of a worrying culture of acquiesce and silence after 1994. Such silence is largely driven by patronage and a misplaced sense of loyalty, to party politics across the political spectrum. It is clear that speaking out has been left to a few voices that are seen as having nothing to lose. This situation has seen the culture and quality of debate degenerating.

The addressees of the letters are South African people of influence who are called upon to use their public presence and role to change the course of events in society and improve the level of public discourse. They receive praise for work well done and are castigated for poor judgement and omissions in their public life and deliberations.

Let’s Talk Frankly expresses some home truths in a satirical and tongue-in-cheek manner and is meant to offend sensibilities as well as express things that people often say around dinner tables but are too cautious to say in public.

Featuring cartoons by SIFISO YALO, who is best known for his work in the Sowetan.

     

 
  Lerato Tshabalala

Lerato Tshabalala first came to our attention in 2011 with her ‘Urban Miss’ column in the Sunday Times, and since then she has by turns entertained, exasperated, amused and confounded her fans and critics alike.
 
Now, with her first book, she looks set to become the national institution she deserves to be. With her customary wit and keen insight into social, political and cultural affairs, Lerato shines a bright – and controversial – light on South African society and the quirky ways of the country. She is brutally honest about her experiences as a black South African in post-apartheid Mzansi, and no subject is too sacred for her to explore: annoying car guards, white-dominated corporate South Africa, cultural stereotypes, economic and racial inequality, and gender politics, among many other topics, come under her careful – and often laugh-out-loud – scrutiny. 
 
The Way I See It is written for people who are hungry for a book that is thought-provoking, funny, irreverent and truly South African all at the same time. It is light but full of depth: like a supermodel with an MBA!
     

     
  Mark Collins (Painted Wolf Adventure Team)

Expedition Racing is arguably the toughest sport on earth. Teams race nonstop and unsupported for up to 200 hours over mountains, rivers, jungles, deserts and oceans. To be a successful participant you need to learn to race beyond your limits of physical and mental exhaustion.

Mark, captain of Team Sanlam Painted Wolf, talks about his racing career spanning 18 years. He discusses the lessons learnt, the strategies he used and how small things made a big difference. Mark relates how a small town got behind a team with big ambitions in the World Championship in Australia, for the quest to be the world’s number one team.

     

     
  Moeletsi Mbeki

A Manifesto for Social Change is the third of a three-volume series that started seven years ago investigating the causes of our country’s – and the continent’s – development obstacles. Architects of Poverty: Why African Capitalism Needs Changing (2009) set out to explain what role African elites played in creating and promoting their fellow Africans’ misery. Advocates for Change: How to Overcome Africa’s Challenges (2011) set out to show that there were short-term to medium-term solutions to many of Africa’s and South Africa’s problems, from agriculture to healthcare, if only the powers that be would take note. And now, more than 20 years after the advent of democracy, we have A Manifesto for Social Change, the conclusion in the ‘trilogy’.

 

     

     
  Pieter-Dirk Uys

Having performed alone on the stages of the world well over seven thousand times, Pieter-Dirk Uys has learnt that every show is the first and the last performance – because each audience demands and gets a different energy, topicality and excitement.

Now in his 71st year, Pieter-Dirk doesn’t glance back at the successes and failures that have strengthened his belief in a constant improvement of his work, but at those small signposts that throughout his life subconsciously pointed him in a right and original direction. His father Hannes Uys and his mother Helga Bassel.  His grandmothers, his teachers, his passions.  Sophia Loren, censorship, false eyelashes and making a noise when everyone demanded silence.

“This is just Pieter-Dirk Uys speaking and he opens his heart and talks about his private and public life. He leads you into his inner sanctuary, takes you through our history and shows us where what is public and private meet. Uys was and still is a voice in the wilderness. He remains a master storyteller who can make as much fun of himself as he does with the others who get a lashing from his sharp tongue. The packed auditorium rose as one with a ‘Bravo Pieter!’ and the standing ovation was thunderous. An artist who can still cause a major traffic jam outside the theatre!”   Laetitia Pople – Die Burger  

     

     
  Richard Steyn

Jan Christian Smuts was soldier, statesman and intellectual, one of South Africa’s greatest leaders. Yet little is said about him today even as we appear to live in a leadership vacuum.

Unafraid of Greatness is a re-examination of the life and thought of Jan Smuts. It is intended to remind a contemporary readership of the remarkable achievements of this impressive soldier-statesman. The author argues that there is a need to bring Smuts back into the present, that Smuts’ legacy still has much to instruct. He draws several parallels between Smuts and President Thabo Mbeki, both intellectuals much lionised abroad and yet often distrusted at home.

This book is a highly readable account of Smuts’ life. It also examines a number of overarching themes: his relationships with women, spiritual life, intellectual life and his role as advisor to world leaders. Politics and international affairs receive the lion’s share, but Smuts’ unique contributions to other fields - for example, botany - are not neglected.

Unafraid of Greatness does not shy away from the contradictions of its subject. Smuts was one of the architects of the United Nations, and a great champion of human rights, yet he could not see the need to reform the condition of the African majority in his own country. 

     

     
  Rob Caskie

Storytelling may seem like an old-fashioned tool, today — and it is. That’s exactly what makes it so powerful. Life happens in the narratives we tell one another. A story can go where quantitative analysis is denied admission: our hearts. Data can persuade people, but it doesn’t inspire them to act; to do that, you need to wrap your vision in a story that fires the imagination and stirs the soul. When you want to motivate, persuade, or be remembered, start with a story of human struggle and eventual triumph. It will capture people’s hearts – by first attracting their brains. Since 2004, I have presented extensively in theUnited KingdomandSouth Africato both corporate and private clients. My achievements were recognised with the honour of being invited to speak at the Royal Geographic Society inLondonto full houses. I believe there are powerful lessons to be learnt from the remarkable stories of Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift, which resonate especially with audiences today. I also regularly present on Amundsen, Scott and Shackleton, along with a keynote presentation titled ‘Endurance: Shackleton’s way’. This talk highlights Shackleton’s unique leadership, choice of personnel and always believing in a positive outcome. Always confident with people, I thrive on the challenge and reward of entertaining audiences in the theatres of their imagination and transporting them via the power of a story well told.

I pride myself in unique storytelling and do not rely on electronic or visual aids – ‘when the lights trip, Rob does not’! 

     

     
  Sarah Graham 

Building on the success of her two previous books, and in support of her TV series, ‘Sarah Graham’s Food Safari’, Home. Food from my Kitchen encapsulates cooking throughout southern Africa. 

Within the standard cookbook format of Brunch, Salads, Soups, Snacks, Meat, Poultry, Pasta, Seafood, Desserts and Baking, she presents food that is simple but beautiful, delicious and healthy. 

Most of the dishes can be prepared as easily outdoors as in your kitchen, and the recipes will work for family meals as well as casual dining with friends. 

The blog-themed writing style engages readers, while stories and personal anecdotes offer some insight into the inspiration behind the recipes. Traditional South African favourites are given a modern makeover and readers are introduced to some less-familiar dishes from Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique. 

Sarah loves to use her friends and family around the world as testers and tasters, so hesitant cooks can be assured that all her recipes really do work!

     

 
  Tim Richman

It’s been seven years since South Africans last heard from the Is It Just Me Or Is Everything Kak? series. Seven years in which a certain showerheaded individual has been in charge – and at first things were fine. Things were good. Couldn’t complain, you know. But lately… Lately it’s just been madness. Zuma, Zupta, Gupta, Malema, Nkandla, hayi suka! And that’s just the politics ending in “a”. Throw in Oscar, Shrien, social-media insanity, emoji birthday greetings and people who let slip what’s happened on Game of Thrones, and the result is a phoenix of kakness rising from the ashes of the ongoing JZ conflagration. Welcome to the Zuma years. This is your whinger’s guide, from AA to JZ.
     

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