The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts (CCA), in partnership with eThekwini Municipality, will host the 23rd Time of the Writer International Festival from 16 to 21 March 2020.  Participating writers are from South Africa and neighbouring countries, Europe and the Unites States of America.  These authors include poets, fiction and non-fiction writers, novelists, children’s book writers, film makers and political theorists.

South Africa is known for its diverse ethnic and cultural society, parallel to this, the country is commended for its Bill of Rights as the cornerstone of this young democracy.  At the same time, there is a tendency of marginalization towards the LGBTQ+ community and the country is struggling with a high rate of gender-based violence.  Reading plays a very important role in making people understand each other’s stories.  It is against this backdrop that the theme “Do you read me?” has been chosen by Time of the Writer.

“It is imperative for one to seek understanding of the next to eliminate social ills.  As we enter a new decade, let the book and literature be the medium of communication and understanding that will lead us to the future”, Siphindile Hlongwa who is the curator of the festival said.  Hlongwa is excited about the diverse line-up of a total of 20 writers.  “The line-up features seasoned writers whom we hope will drive the conversation forward to a better future.  We expect Durban to come out to meet and engage with the writers and buy their books”, Hlongwa added.

Author Siphiwo Mahala

Writers that will participate in the festival are:

  • Forgiveness advocate, author and public speaker Candide Mama (SA)
  • Comic-book and Hindi film aficionado Ebrahim Essa (SA)
  • Novelist and poet Euciene Busi Maphumulo (SA)
  • Journalist and award-winning author Fred Khumalo (SA)
  • Writer and poet Haska Shyyan (Ukraine)
  • Ugandan fiction writer Jennifer Makumbi (Uganda)
  • Storyteller and short story author Keletso Mopai (SA)
  • Fiction and non-fiction writer Kirsten Miller (SA)
  • Children’s book writer Lebohang Masango (SA)
  • Children’s book writer Refiloe Moahloli (SA)
  • Novelist Nozizwe Cynthia Jele (SA)
  • Rwandan-born Namibian novelist, short story writer, essayist, columnist, poet and photographer Remy Ngambije (Namibia)
  • Sociologist and writer Shafinaaz Hassim (SA)
  • Literary critic, novelist, short story writer and playwright Siphiwo Mahala (SA)
  • American political theorist and writer Dr Tiffany Willoughby-Herard (USA)

Time of the Writer promo video

As part of the “Ethekwini Home-grown” programme, a group of 5 writers from the city have been selected to participate in the day-time panel discussions.  Festival attendees will get a week long to engage with the writers on the main programme.  The eThekwini writers are Joe Spirit, Nelly Shozana, Rodney Roskruge, Sylvia Garib and Zanele Dlamini.Time of the Writer is one of the largest and longest-running literature festivals in Africa. Over the years, it has hosted a wide variety of internationally-acclaimed thought leaders such as Zakes Mda and NoViolet Bulawayo, from all over the world, with the main focus on Africa.

In 2017, the City of Durban was awarded the first African UNESCO City of Literature and at the fore is Time of the Writer.  Time of the Writer promotes South African and African writers in the current cultural climate that sees literature as part of a bigger social process around nation building and social cohesion within South Africa and the African continent.  The festival has – and continues – to encourage debates and dialogue around all forms of the spoken and written word as part of the Centre for Creative Arts’ agenda to celebrate contemporary culture and histories, both local and international.

To stay updated, please follow @Timeofthewriter on Twitter and Instagram or like the festival on Facebook at Find more information about the musicians that are participating as opening artists for the evening programme: