Authors gather at Kingsmead to entertain and inform

Barbara Masekela (Photo: Melinda Stuurman)
Barbara Masekela (Photo: Melinda Stuurman)

Event: Kingsmead Book Fair 2022

Like the Franschhoek Literary Festival (FLF), the Kingsmead Book Fair in Johannesburg had to suspend activities for two years because of Covid-19. But the FLF made a triumphant return to live in-person events this month, and Kingsmead looks set to do the same on 21 May. 

It has a very rich and full programme, spread across seven venues at Kingsmead College, the private girls’ school in Melrose, Johannesburg. Many pick up on authors who were at FLF, so if Jo’burgers missed them there this is your chance to catch up. Among the many sessions, divided into an adult programme and a children’s and young adult programme, are: 

• At 09:00 in Lange Hall, Andrew Harding (We Are Not Gentle People) digs deep into the mindset of those who are able to face the toughest crimes with Janine Lazarus (Bait: To Catch a Killer), Ben Booysen and Nicki Gules (On The Devil's Trail: How I Hunted Down the Krugersdorp Killers

• At the same time in Joel, in a session titled Political Upheaval and its Casualties, Michela Wrong (Do Not Disturb: The Story of a Political Murder and an African Regime Gone Bad), Pie-Pacifique Kabalira-Uwase (Witnessing: From the Rwandan Tragedy to Healing in South Africa), and Joe Parkinson (Bring Back Our Girls: The Untold Story of The Global Search For Nigeria’s Missing Girls) discuss the serious political issues facing our continent. 

• Ian Mackenzie, Finuala Dowling (The Man Who Loved Crocodile Tamers), Yewande Omotoso (An Unusual Grief) and Karen Jennings (An Island) talk about the challenges and rewards of writing compelling, award-winning novels with Alma-Nalisha Cele (Cheeky Natives). 

• At 11:00 in Lange Hall, Lorraine Sithole examines how the triumphing of life’s struggles can lead to extraordinary acts with Andile Gaelesiwe (Remembering), Pindiwe Mgijima-Mabhena (Echoes of the Mountains: The Unspoken Champions), and Barbara Masekela (Poli Poli: A Memoir) and Cathy Park Kelly (Boiling a Frog Slowly). 

• At 12:30 in the Learning Centre, Claire Adlam (This Might Sting a Bit), Thando Pato (On the Rocks: Memoir of a High-Functioning Alcoholic) converse with Melinda Ferguson about the sneakiness of addiction and the strength it takes to recognise it. 

• At 14:30 in Lange Hall, Quraisha Dawood (Stirring the Pot), Penny Haw (The Wilderness Between Us) and Sally Andrew (The Milk Tart Murders) reveal their secrets on how to create tension and anxiety on the page with Gail Schimmel (Never Tell A Lie). 

• At the same time in Mackenzie, Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu (The History of Man) and Futhi Ntshingila (They Got To You Too) discuss the complexity of writing characters of antipathy with empathy. In discussion with Mphuthumi Ntabeni (The Wanderers). 

• At 16:00 in the Music Centre, Lebo Mazibuko (Bantu Knots), and Fred Khumalo (Two Tons O’Fun) explore the nature of the Bildungsroman in conversation with Sue Nyathi. 

Fred Khumalo
Author Fred Khumalo. (Photo: Supplied)

The children’s and young adult programme includes readings and discussions such as the following:

• Starting a new school is never easy. Find out how twins Rorisang and Mo cope with new sports, friends and experiences in this exciting new early chapter book series, Know My Name, by Refiloe Moahlodi. 

• YouTuber and author of Hashtag Happy, Theodora Lee joins Catherine Jarvis, author of The Swim Team and social media law expert Emma Sadleir to talk about the highs and lows of living your life online. 

• The Otto Foundation's Xanelé Puren and Nonikiwe Mashologu hold a reading, writing and journaling session. Explore poems and activities from the Reading Journal, packed with literary adventures to expand children's reading skills. 

• Poets Upile Chisala (Nectar), Jess Robus (A Few Slivers of Light) and Finuala Dowling (Pretend you Don’t Know Me) look at poetry as a way of processing life. 

And that’s just a small selection of what will be on. Click here for the adult programme and the children and young adult programme and start booking your seats! 

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