Programme announced for pop-up Karoo Writers Festival in Cradock

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This year’s edition of the Schreiner Karoo Writers Festival (SKWF) will be hosted as a pop-up event with the ticket price at only R50 per person to attend.

“Run away to the Karoo! Relax and refresh yourself,” is the open invitation from festival organiser Lisa Ker.

“There’ll be lots of space and fresh air, new ideas, live music, regional food and the warmest of  hospitality within a framework of scrupulous health safety protocols,” Ker added.

SKWF ‘more affordable than ever’

According to Ker, they have been able to lock down ticket prices and make this year’s pop-up festival “more affordable than ever” with the support of the Amazwi South African Museum of Literature.

Session tickets, (morning or afternoon) cost R50 each per person (workshops, meals and refreshments excluded).

Amazwi is the founding sponsor of SKWF and in a special Friday afternoon programme at Schreiner House, Amazwi director Beverley Thomas will present readings by some of her creative staff members who are themselves writers. 

Talk on JM Coetzee exhibition

Amazwi’s curatorial division manager Crystal Warren will give a talk about Scenes from the South, a major exhibition about the life and work of JM Coetzee which is on display at the museum.

The eminent writer/philosopher chose to celebrate his 80th birthday at the museum with the opening of the exhibition when he could have chosen any of the world’s literary capitals. The fascinating behind-the-scenes stories played out over a number of years.

Supper al fresco will be offered at a gesellige street market from 16:00 on Friday, followed (at 19:00) by a huiskonsert featuring some of the results of the songwriting workshop.

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Saturday programme

The Saturday programme is located in the airy spaces of The Shed complex where a strong lineup of speakers/readers features: 

  • Vivian de Klerk – her novel, Not to Mention, is a hot topic in the media and on the book club circuit  
  • Tony (Gastroturf) Jackman who relishes some of the unpublished moments of his very popular columns in The Daily Maverick 
  • David Hilton Barber who introduces his new book about the 1820 Settlers 
  • sport historian Dean Allen who examines the legacy of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. 

The screening of a showreel of highlights from the 12-part video series on literary creativity will lead in to Open Mic on Saturday afternoon. The video series was created by Melina Smit for The Avbob Poetry Project as a boost for educators in the Eastern Cape, but its resonances are universal. 

Open Mic will include live readings interspersed with our ‘Absent Friends’ series – short video clips and messages from favourite writers (such as Etienne van Heerden) who could not make it in person.

Before a traditional Karoo dinner on the Saturday night, Chris Marais and Julienne du Toit will present a slideshow and some story-gems from their delightful new book, Karoo Roads.  

“On Sunday, we recommend everyone heads out to the Mountain Zebra National Park to revel in the wide open spaces and tank up on the ultimate creative inspiration,” said Ker.

For more programme information and to book, write to or send a WhatsApp to 082 932 8864.

The programme can be copied and pasted off

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