Final Line-Up Announced

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Press Release

Notable writers announced in a captivating final line-up for the 23rd Time of the Writer Festival

16 TO 21 MARCH 2020

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. 


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 marginalisation towards the LGBTQ+ community and  we are currently struggling with a large rate of gender-based violence. In our divers, but unequal society empathy is crucial and a writer’s contribution to understanding one another inevitable. We can therefore not deny the importance of creating and maintaining communities in which reading is the norm in order to get to know and understand each other’s stories. It is against this backdrop, that Time of the Writer has chosen the theme of this year’s festival as: “Do you read me?”.

“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 communicating and understanding that will  lead us to the future.” says curator Siphindile Hlongwa.

Participating Writers

The festival is proud to announce all writers that will participate during the main program of Time of the Writer 2020:

  • Forgiveness advocate, author and public speaker Candice Mama [SA]
  • Comic-book and Hindi film aficionado Ebrahim Essa [DBN-SA]
  • Novelist and poet Euclene Busi Maphumulo [DBN-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 [DBN-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 Tiffany Willoughby-Herard [USA]

As part of the “Ethekwini Home-grown” program, a group of 5 writers from the city have been selected to participate in the day-time panel discussions and get a week long to engage with the writers on the main program. The eThekwini writers are: Joe Spirit, Nelly Shozana, Rodney Roskruge, Sylvia Garib and Zanele Dlamini

Curator Siphindile Hlongwa is excited about this 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. The Time of the Writer platform has been created for audiences to be able to engage with writers. We are definitely sure that Durban will come out to meet and engage with their favourite writers and buy books to support  them.”


The written word envelops in  Durban as South African, African and International writers gather for a thought-provoking week of literary dialogue, exchange of ideas and stimulating discussions. Time of the Writer features a diverse gathering of leading novelists, social commentators, activists, playwrights and short story writers. The festival partners with eThekwini Municipality Libraries department to deliver a community engagement programme that actively promotes reading and writing in four community libraries (Craigieburn, Firwood, Mortoon and Chesterville ext). This programme involves students, library users, librarians and community members. The day program also takes place in a variety of art centres and schools around Durban where workshops and panel discussions will be hosted. The opening night, where all the writers will be introduced, will take place at Ekhaya Multi-Arts Centre in KwaMashu.  Throughout the festival, evening sessions will feature writers on panel discussions at the KZNSA in Glenwood.

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 our continent. This 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.

The festival is made possible by the support from eThekwini Municipality, National Department of Arts and Culture, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture

To stay updated, please follow @Timeofthewriter on Twitter and Instagram or like the festival on Facebook at

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