THE advent of new media technology is one of the main challenges facing emerging writers in South Africa. This emerged at the 21st Time of the Writer International Festival held at the Tongaat Central Library on March 13. The local emerging authors said people tend to focus more on social media than reading books. The members of the North Coast Writers Club believe that young writers are struggling to publish their work due to the challenges they encounter.However, they said that some of the challenges are teething problems that occur in any business.S’busiso Majola said: “As writers we have noted the majority of our people do not read books. They spend time on social media. “New media technology has replaced traditional media. We are struggling to publish books and when we approach some of the publishing companies we are told about senior writers who are already known in the field. “That on its own is discouraging in a sense that some of the young writers give up and do not take further steps to have their works published,” he said.The writers from the club published a book called Prose and Poetry that was published in 2010.Majola added: “Due to some of the challenges that we are facing as young writers we have not been able to exhibit our work. “The book is not on the shelves yet, but we hope that it will be in the stores soon.” Another writer, Indernaie Naicker, said a passion and love for writing motivated her to be part of the club.“When I started to write, I learnt to look at the world differently. “I developed a shark’s eye for details of the world around me. These details are so important in writing my stories or poems. I am inspired by the beauty of nature and the history of people and their experiences. I have a lot of voices in my head waiting for me to tell their stories,” she said. Guest speaker Lindiwe Mabuza, who was on the panel, advised the public to research and trace their historical roots.She published a book called Conversations with Uncle O.R. Tambo. “Oliver Tambo is the founder of this democracy that we have today. He never rested even a single day, working hard for this country to be free,” Mabuza said.Mabuza told the audience about how her passion for writing books developed.The festival began on March 12 and will continue until March 17, with writers telling their own stories. The aim of the festival is to advance literacy arts and develop emerging creative writers. The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts (CCA), in partnership with eThekwini Municipality, hosted the festival. In November 2016, the City of Durban was awarded the first African Unesco City of Literature and at the fore is Time of the Writer, the first literary festival to be hosted since the announcement. It is against the backdrop of this achievement and in the spirit of the celebration of Nelson Mandela’s centenary year, that the 21st edition of Time of the Writer is aptly themed “Changing the Narrative”. This 21st edition of Time of the Writer consisted of a day programme that was hosted in four community libraries, art centres and schools around Durban.Pupils from local schools read poems to honour and encourage young writers to continue raising the South African flag through writing.The festival was made possible with support from the eThekwini Municipality, national Department of Arts and Culture, National Arts Council and Alliance Française Durban.