“THE Midlands Literary Festival has come of age,” remarked Elana Bregin, a writer who has participated in all eight past events.
This year, hundreds of people arrived at Fern Hill Hotel to enjoy an astonishing array of authors speak about their work. There literally was something for everyone.
Keen reader Thembeka Dambuza was thrilled to come across new authors and books that she would never have thought of picking up before.
History enthusiast Chris Moore came up from Durban specially to learn more about old farmhouses, Drakensberg passes, the Boer War and Trappist missions.
“All are such incredible books, but unfortunately my book budget can’t stretch to buying them all.”
Despite these constraints, Tracy Going, David Robbins and Landa Mabenge’s books all sold out after their riveting presentations.
High school pupil and budding poet Nomcebo Nzuza was impressed by Going’s bravery and her statement that by telling our stories we set others free to tell their own stories too.
“One day I hope to read my work at the festival,” Nomcebo said. Cape Town-based author Landa Mabenge, visiting the KZN Midlands for the first time, was most impressed.
“I love to really connect with people. This audience was so engaged and asked such good questions. I had an amazing time.”
Going added that she thought this was one of the best book festivals she had attended.
Jeni Halle, and her friend Ali Tucker, were thrilled to have discovered the Midlands Literary Festival.
Other highlights included the opportunity to ask Jacques Pauw questions about his explosive work The President’s Keepers on Saturday afternoon, and Gcina Mhlophe’s birthday celebration as the festival closed.
Children and adults alike were riveted by her story telling and joyfully sang happy birthday and ate slices of cake in her honour.
Elana Bregin encouraged members of the audience to simply write.
“If you ignore an idea, it may pass through you and loose its vibrancy. Rather just let it tumble out while it is fresh and polish it later.”
Armed with new books and heads buzzing with ideas, many people left inspired to start their writing journey. Quite likely some of them will have published their books before the 10th annual Midlands Literary Festival in Spring next year.