Authors

Achmat Dangor

Achmat Dangor has published four novels. Bitter Fruit was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for 2004 as well as the 2003 International Dublin Impac Award. Dangor’s new novel, Dikeledi, will be released in August 2017. At the SABF, Achmat will reflect on a life of writing with a star studded panel.

Ameera Patel

Ameera Patel received recognition as a storyteller, being named one of the Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans in 2016. She also received the Premier’s Special Recognition Award for Youth Excellence and Service. She is an actor, writer, theatre‐maker and poet residing in Johannesburg. Her debut novel, Outside the Lines, published by Modjadji Books was longlisted for the Barry Ronge Fiction Prize and the german translation rights have been sold. Her play ‘Whistle Stop’ also received recognition with a Silver Standard Bank Ovation Award (2014) as well as a PANSA New Writer’s Award (2014). Ameera’s work centres around the connections and rifts that occur between people when their worlds collide. She has a BA in Theatre and Performance (UCT) and received a distinction for her Masters in Creative Writing (Wits).

Angela Makholwa

From an early age, Angela Makholwa harbored dreams of becoming a storyteller. Her love for the written word saw her first short story being published at the age of 13 in the popular youth publication; Upbeat Magazine. From that moment, the bug had bitten. Angela went onto graduate as a Journalism major at Rhodes University and practiced as a journalist for several years before starting her own PR and events management company; Britespark Communications in 2002. Her debut novel, Red Ink is a crime thriller set in Johannesburg which was published to both public and critical acclaim in 2007. This was followed by The 30th Candle, a book that revolves around four university friends who navigate their way to their 30th birthdays with humorous and sometimes unexpected results. The Black Widow Society (published in 2013) follows the cloak and dagger workings of a secret society of middle class women who plot to eliminate their errant husbands through devious and underhanded means, giving fresh meaning to the words “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”. Angela’s new book Blessed Girl will be available at bookstores in October 2017.

Athambile Masola

Athambile is currently doing her PhD on Noni Jabavu’s memoirs while teaching at the University of Pretoria as a New Generation of Academics Programme nGAP lecturer. Her work questions the erasure of black women in South Africa’s literary historiography and centres on women’s lives and stories. She is also a writer and blogger, and her work has appeared in Prufrock, Sable Literary Magazine, Mail & Guardian, Daily Dispatch, The Sunday Independent and The Journalist. At the SABF 2017 Athambile will be running Young Adult writing workshops.

Ayòbámi Adébáyò

Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ has written for Farafina, Elle, Lawino magazine, Metro, Litro, the BBC and many others. She holds BA and MA degrees in Literature in English from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife and has worked as an editor for Saraba magazine since 2009. She also has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia where she was awarded an international bursary for creative writing. Her debut novel, Stay with Me, was shortlisted for the Kwani? Manuscript prize and the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. Ayobami has received fellowships and residencies from Ledig House, Sinthian Cultural Centre, Hedgebrook, Ox-bow School of Arts, and Ebedi Hills, she was shortlisted twice for the Miles Morland Scholarship.

Barbara Boswell

Born in Cape Town, Barbara Boswell writes to untangle the intersections of gender and race in her fiction and non-fiction. After 10 years in the US, Barbara returned to South Africa and now lives in Johannesburg. She is a feminist scholar based in the Department of English Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand. Barbara will talk on hidden figures in the African Imagination.

Bibi Bakare-Yusuf

Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, founder of Cassava Republic Press – one of the continent’s most industrious and successful publishing houses – will participate in mapping ways in which we might grow the African book market.

Billy Kahora

Billy Kahora is managing editor of Kwani? journal and other Kwani? publications, including the visual narratives 24Nairobi and Kenya Burning. He has been Kwani? Litfest curator since 2008 and in 2015 curated Writers in Conversation: Beyond the Map of English. Billy is a prolific and highly acclaimed writer and has been awarded writer’s fellowships in Italy, the UK, Germany and Denmark. He recently taught on the MA in Creative Writing course at Rhodes University, and has also taught writing workshops in East Africa for the past ten years. At SABF 2017, Billy will look specifically at growing the African book market and creating a reading culture in the country.

Carol Levers

Carol Levers was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and grew up under the Apartheid Regime.  Her family filed for political asylum and immigrated to the U.S. in 1989. It was then that she began volunteering part-time at the West Wyandotte Library in Kansas City, KS. Carol attended the Kansas City, KS Community College and completed her Associate’s degree in 1993. She transferred to Park University, where she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Human Resources Management, then later obtained her Master’s in Library Science from Emporia State University in 2001. In the meantime, on March 2, 1992, political asylum was granted. A year later, the INS issued her family permanent residence, and on November 2, 1998, Carol applied for U.S. citizenship. In August of 1999, she passed the Naturalization Exam and one month later was sworn in as United States Citizen. Carol represents Wyandotte County on the Northeast Kansas Library System’s (NEKLS) Executive Board and serves on many other local and statewide boards. Carol helped write a grant for “Emporia Diversity Initiative: Matching Recruitment with Retention Strategies,” for which they received $857,754 designed to recruit, train and retain local minority library staff and students for library service in Kansas, Colorado and Oregon. So far, 42 students have graduated. Carol received the “I Love My Librarian Award” in 2008 in New York City, hosted by Carnegie Corporation of New York. In 2010, she became the first woman and person of color to become the Director of Libraries for the Kansas City, Kansas Public Library system. She was inducted into the KCKCC’s Mid-America Education Hall of Fame. She manages five public libraries. A fleet of 3 mobile libraries and 48 school libraries and reports to the USD# 500 School Board as well as the Wyandotte County Library Board.

Christian Robinson

Christian Robinson is a 2016 Caldecott Honoree and also received a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honour for his art in Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña. Leo: A Ghost Story, illustrated by Robinson and written by Mac Barnett, was named a 2015 New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book of the Year. His Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker, written by Patricia Hruby Powell, garnered too many awards to mention. Based in San Francisco, Robinson is also an animator and has worked with The Sesame Street Workshop and Pixar Animation Studios. Christian will work with talented new illustrators at the SABF 2017 thereby assisting us in developing much-needed black illustrators for the industry.

Clyde Beech

Clyde Beech is a comic book colourist, digital painter and art director. He loves comics, gaming and pop culture and is known on the scene as a champion of local comics. He is also an avid martial artist. As part of Team Kwezi, Clyde will bring a crazy kind of fun element to the Comic Book Writing workshop for young adults.

Craig Higginson

Craig Higginson is an internationally acclaimed playwright and novelist who lives in Johannesburg. His plays have been performed and produced in many theatres and festivals around the world, including the National Theatre in London, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Traverse Theatre and the Trafalgar Studios in London’s West End. His novels include Last Summer (published by Mercure de France in 2017), The Landscape Painter and The Dream House (published by Mercure de France in 2016). Craig has won several awards, including the Sony Gold Award for the Best Radio Drama in the UK, an Edinburgh Fringe First, the UJ Award for South African Literature in English (twice) and the Naledi Award for Best South African play. He is currently under commission with Headlong and The Ink Factory (John le Carre’s production company) to adapt Le Carre’s novel The Mission Song into a play in the UK. His new novel The White Room will be published in 2018. He is currently completing his PhD in Creative Writing at Wits. Craig will talk about the art of adaption at the SABF in September.

Deon Meyer

South African crime author Deon Meyer is a former journalist, advertising copywriter, Internet manager and brand strategist. He has published twelve novels and two short story collections in Afrikaans. His books have been translated into 28 languages world-wide. He has also written, directed and produced TV series and feature films. Deon is one of South Africa’s best-known authors at the Fair. Most excitingly, he will be engaging with a new crime novelist writing in one of South Africa’s indigenous languages.

Fiona Melrose

Fiona Melrose was born in Johannesburg but has spent the majority of her adult life in the UK. Philip Jackson on Radio 4’s Opening Lines read Fiona’s short story The Fox. She tweets as @PaperCutPrint, is a Contributing Editor at Bookanista.com and a reviewer and contributor for WritersHub. She has thankfully returned to Johannesburg and will share her particular love story about this vibrant African city with SABF audiences.

Firoz Khan

Firoz Khan’s publications span development planning, housing, urban studies, applied economics, informality, institutional transformation, and governance. Khan’s teaching includes research methodology, political economy, and trade and finance; all in heterodox frames. His peresent research focuses on the political economy of development, neopatrimonialism and governance.

Gail Schimmel

Gail Schimmel is the author of a children’s book, a text book on Advertising Law, and three novels: Marriage Vows (2008), Whatever happened to the Cowley Twins? (2013) and The Park ( 2017). Gail’s short story was a runner up in the 2016 Short Sharp Stories award. She is an attorney and currently acting CEO of the Advertising Standards Authority.

Grace Musila

Grace A Musila is an associate professor in the English Department, Stellenbosch University. She is the author A Death Retold in Truth and Rumour: Kenya, Britain and the Julie Ward Murder (James Currey/Boydell &Brewer, 2015); which explores British and Kenyan interpretations of the 1988 murder of British tourist Julie Ann Ward in Maasai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya. She also co-edited Rethinking Eastern African Intellectual Landscapes (Africa World Press, 2012) with James Ogude and Dina Ligaga. She has also published articles on Eastern and Southern African literatures and popular culture. Grace will look at shifting the Western academic lense and the process of decoloniality.

Gugulethu Mhlungu

Print & Broadcast professional Gugulethu Mhlungu is host of NightTalk on talk Radio 702 (Monday to Friday 8-11pm) and has over a decade of media experience. Her radio career began in Grahamstown at Rhodes music radio where she started off as a news reader and on-air producer at 17 and was station manager by 21. She holds a BA in Journalism and Anthropology and an Honours level post grad diploma in Media Management, both from Rhodes. She is the former lifestyle editor for City Press newspaper and in -addition to her editor role- is a 2015 National Arts Festival Business Art Silver award winning journalist for her extensive arts and culture feature writing. She is also a 2015 Media 24 Legends Columnsit of the year for her incisive and thought provoking op-eds, often reflecting on the state of public discourse in South Africa. She has also worked as commissioning editor for Cosmopolitan magazine, and her freelance writing has appeared in Destiny magazine, Marie Claire and international Sorbet magazine. She recently worked with Bonang Matheba on Matheba’s first book titled ‘From A to B; Invest in your Sparkle,’ She is Beyonce’s biggest fan.

Jennifer Platt

Jennifer Platt has been a journalist since 2001, beginning at The Star newspaper as an intern. Here she started writing reviews of books and has taken this love of literature to every other posting, whether it was in magazines (Drum and Heat) or at newspapers. Now Jennifer is part of the exciting and intrepid books team at the Sunday Times as the books editor.

Justice Malala

Justice Malala is one of South Africa’s most well-known political analysts. He was founding editor of ThisDay newspaper, publisher of the Sowetan and Sunday World, and Sunday Times correspondent in London and New York. He writes a weekly column and presents a weekly TV talk show The Justice Factor.

In We Have Now Begun Our Descent – How to stop South Africa loosing its way, Malala offers a deeply personal reflection. His diagnosis is devastating: South Africa is on the brink. He does not stop there. Malala believes that we have the ingredients to turn things around: our lauded Constitution, our wealth of talent, our history of activism and a democratic trajectory that can be used to stop the rot from setting in. But he has a warning: South Africans need to wake up now, or else they will soon find their country has been stolen. Malala will talk about future scenarios for South Africa at the SABF.

Karabo Kgoleng

Karabo K Kgoleng is a writer, radio broadcaster and public speaker in the arts, culture and social development sectors. This SA Literary Award recipient specialises in using her skills to contribute to literary development endeavours, as well as cultural exchange across borders. Karabo has adjudicated the Short Sharp Stories Short Story Competition, the Sunday Times Literary Award Fiction Prize (Barry Ronge Fiction Prize) and the MNET Literary Awards among others. She sits on the Johannesburg Review of Books Editorial Advisory Panel. Karabo will participate in panels that discuss reading cultures

Khadija Patel

Khadija Patel is the editor-in-chief of Mail & Guardian and co-founder of the Daily Vox. Khadija describes herself as ‘pushing words on street corners’ and was recently recognised as one of 25 individuals who are reshaping influence and engagement in the media. She has been published internationally by Al Jazeera, The Guardian, Quartz and Daily Maverick among other publications, and is currently completing her first book. Since 2015, Khadija has been a research associate with WISER (Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research). She is a respected commentator on television and radio, both locally and internationally. Khadija will talk about racism and the indelible stain it has left on our country’s psyche.

Kobus Moolman

Kobus Moolman is a poet and playwright, educator and editor, he is widely regarded as one of South Africa’s leading lyrical poets, as well as a gifted writing teacher and performer of his own work. Moolman is the author of seven collections of poetry. He is the winner of the 2001 Ingrid Jonker Award, the DALRO award, the South African Literary Award for Poetry, the 2013 Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award, and the 2015 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry for his collection A Book of Rooms. In 2010 he edited Tilling the Hard Soil: poetry, prose and art by South African Writers with Disabilities (UKZN Press). He is also the guest editor of the first special issue of a South African academic journal dedicated entirely to the teaching of creating writing, Current Writing 2015, 27 (2). He has also won numerous awards, both local and international, for his plays which have been produced in South Africa and abroad. Poet and academic Kelwyn Sole says of Moolman’s work: “He is, in my view, possibly the most compelling voice exploring and experimenting with new ways of writing poetry at the moment.” His poems reveal his growing focus on the body and on issues of disability. (He was born with spina bifida.) Moolman has a PhD in English Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal where he taught for twelve years. He is currently Associate Professor of creative writing in the Department of English at the University of the Western Cape. His first collection of short fiction, The Swimming Lesson and other stories, has recently been published by UKZN Press.

Koleka Putuma

Koleka Putuma’s poetry has travelled around the world garnering the 2014 National Poetry Slam Championship and the 2016 PEN South Africa Student Writing Prize. Her latest; Collective Amnesia, is causing a great stir among the local literati. Koleka will bring her entrancing stage presence to the SABF as she performs her poetry.

Leana Snyders

Leana Snyders is the director of the South African San Council. She worked on the benefit agreement for the San Communities and initiated pre-negotiations for the nowadays growing IKSDC project (Indigenous Knowledge Systems Documentation Centre) in the Northern Cape, of which she is now the manager. Snyders strongly believes in assisting vulnerable people through access and benefit sharing, traditional knowledge and indigenous communities rights. She has made this her life’s mission. At the SABF she will share stories from the San Council on research ethics and more.

Lebo Mashile

Lebo Mashile is an award winning poet, performer, television presenter, actress and public speaker whose infectious personality, fierce intellect, and passion for social justice are infused into every platform she touches. Mashile has shared her work in 23 countries. She is the author of two poetry books, In A Ribbon of Rhythm and Flying Above the Sky, in addition to being a voice over and recording artist. She recently recorded her second studion album Moya, in collaboration with Majola.

Lerato Mbangeni

Lerato Mbangeni is a young black multimedia journalist and copywriter in South Africa who, although she writes widely on social issues in the country, focuses on capturing the nuances of upcoming arts movements in South Africa following the period of struggle arts during the apartheid era. Her writing has appeared in The Star, Cape Times, Cape Argus, the Mercury, Daily News (KZN), the Saturday Star, The African Independent and online publication OkayAfrica. Lerato was recently one of three finalists in the 2016 Sikuvile Awards’ Young Journalist of the Year category. Lerato is currently the director of a documentary on skin bleaching called A Gentle Magic which is in post-production.

Lidudumalingani

Lidudumalingani Mqombothi is a writer, filmmaker and photographer. He was born in the former Transkei, now the Eastern Cape. In 2016 he was awarded the Zikhovane, a village in prestigious Caine Prize for African writing for his short story ‘Memories We Lost‘ and in the same he was awarded the Miles Morland Scholarship, which will see him spend a year writing his debut novel titled ‘Let Your Children Name Themselves’.

Lola Shoneyin

Lola Shoneyin, founder of the ground-breaking Ake Festival in Lagos, will participate in discussions about the state of democracy and, importantly, the lives and future of women in Africa.

Loyiso Mkize

Loyiso Mkize of Team Kwezi has been in the comic book scene for nearly 10 years and has been involved in numerous South African comic books. His fine arts career spans seven years with four solo exhibitions and six group exhibitions with a keen following both locally and internationally. Loyiso will be running a young adult workshop on Comic Book Writing and what it takes.

Makhosazana Xaba

Makhosazana Xaba is an anthologist, poet and short story writer and has won awards for her fiction writing. In 2014 her debut collection Running and Other Stories won the SALA Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award. In the same year Queer Africa: New and Collected Fiction which she co-edited won the 26th Lambda Literary Award for the fiction anthology category. Her main interest is the actualization of feminist ideals in all spheres of life, writing being her chosen field. She is a PhD Mellon Scholar with Rhodes University working on Noni Jabavu. Makhosazana will work with Young Adults in writing workshops and also discuss queer rights and writing in South Africa.

Mandla Langa

Mandla Langa grew up in Durban, won the 1980 DRUM Short Story award and in 1991 he was awarded the Arts Council of great Britain bursary for creative writing. Langa’s published works include Tenderness of Blood (1987), A rainbow on a Paper Sky(1989), The Lost Colours of the Chameleon (2008) and The texture of Shadows (2014). he has recently co-authord Dare Not Linger, The presidential years of Nelson Mandela, out in October.

Masande Ntshagna

Masande Ntshagna is the winner of the inaugural PEN International New Voices Award in 2013, and a finalist for the Caine Prize in 2015. He was born in East London, South Africa, and graduated with a degree in Film and Media and an Honours degree in English Studies from the University of Cape Town, where he became a creative writing fellow, completing his Masters in Creative Writing under the Mellon Mays Foundation. he was received a Fulbright Award, an NRF Freestanding Masters Scholarship, a Civitella Ranieri Fellowship and a Bundanon Trust Award. His work has appeared in The White Review, Chimurenga, VICE and n + 1. He has also written for Rolling Stone magazine.

Matthew Booth

Matthew Booth is an ex-professional footballer who has represented South Africa at junior & senior levels. He has captained Bafana Bafana, played at the Sydney Olympics & was part of the squad for the FIFA World Cup in 2010. His professional career spanned 18 years, six of which was spent in Russia. He is currently studying for a Political Science degree through UNISA, is a trustee for The Booth Education & Sports Trust, panelist for the South African Institute of Drugs in Sport, a football analyst for Supersport TV & is writing his first book.

Mbali Vilakazi

Mbali Vilakazi is an award-winning South African poet, performer, speaker and facilitator. Using Pan-African artistic practice as a catalyst for social change, her work deals with issues of personal and social transformation, sustainability and social justice. She has worked with the United Nations Children’s Fund, Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, The Children’s Radio Foundation, The Africa Centre, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Young in Prison, Penguin Books, The British House of Lords, Old Mutual Investment Group and Cambridge University Institute for Sustainability Leadership. She was the resident poet on the UNFCCC COP 17 Climate Train. Mbali will perform her works at the Poetry Cafe at the SABF 2017.

Michelle Nkamankeng

Michelle Nkamankeng started reading at the tender age of four. She is now seven and can read big books and loves to read. She started writing at age five and by the time she was six, had written two books – Waiting For The Waves and The Little Girl Who Believes In Herself. She is currently working on her fourth book. Michelle is a caring, passionate and smart young girl who never lets anyone get in her way. She got her idea of writing this book after an adventure she had with her family at a beach resort. Besides her excellent academic performance at school and her book writing hobby, she also does ballet, gymnastics, netball, swimming and music. She loves helping others especially those who are less privileged than her. She currently belongs to a kids’ charity group called Missionary Children Association (MCA) which is very involved in charitable work in her local community in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Mukoma Wa Ngugi

Mukoma Wa Ngugi (co-founder of the Cornell-Kiswahili Prize) will engage with us about reading and books, and the future of these on the African continent.

Nick Mulgrew

Poet / Publisher Nick Mulgrew is the 2014 winner of the National Arts Festival Short Sharp Stories Award, and a 2015 shortlistee for the White Review Prize in the U.K. and Ireland. Most recently, he is the author of the poetry collection, the myth of this is that we’re all in this together, and the co-editor, with Karina Szczurek, of Water: New Short Fiction from Africa. Nick will read excerpts of his poetry at the SABF

Nikhil Singh

Nikhil Singh is an artist, writer and musician. Former projects include the graphic novels: Salem Brownstone written by John Harris Dunning (longlisted for the Branford Boase Award, Walker Books 2009, as well as The Ziggurat (Bell Roberts 2003) by The Constructus Corporation (now Die Antwoord). His work has also been featured in various magazines including Dazed, i-D Online, Creative Review, as well as Pictures and Words: New Comic Art and Narrative Illustration (Lawrence King, 2005). His Novel Taty Went West was published by Kwani? Trust in 2015 and is due for publication by Jacaranda Books (UK) in late 2017, and Rosarium (US shortly thereafter with an accompanying soundtrack. Recently, Taty Went West has also been shortlisted for the iLube Prize for best novel in the inaugural Nommo Awards.

Nomavenda Mathaine

Nomavenda Mathaine began writing as a journalist for the Weekend World in 1974.
“The 1976 Soweto students’ uprising caught up with me when I was a rookie doing what was then regarded as “soft stories”, that is reporting on Girl Guide affairs, YWCA matters. The uprisings changed all that, as female journalists were removed from their comfort zone and thrown into the trenches of the struggle to swim or sink. I survived by presenting the newsroom with amazing copy which I wrote from my encounters with township residents.”
The World and Weekend World were banned in 1977. Nomavende then joined The Voice Newspaper, a black owned and black run political weekly that focused mainly on black news. In the 1980’s, she found herself once more in the forefront of township insurgents.
“This time I was writing for a monthly periodical titled Frontline. It was during these turbulent years that my writing sharpened to a point where the essays that I produced in those years were compiled into two books titled :SA a diary of troubled times published in the United States of America and Beyond the Headlines published in South Africa.”
Nomavenda retired as a journalist in 2002.

Pamela Power

Pamela Power was born in South Africa and was educated at the Domincan Convents in Harare and Bulawayo and did her matric at Sacred Heart College in Johannesburg. She holds an Honours degree in Drama Studies form the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of the Witwatersrand, where she taught for many years. She has worked on the television shows Top Billing, Generatons, Rockville, Uzalo and Gauteng Maboneng. She is currently the script editor at Muvhango. Pamela is the author of three novels: Ms Conception (Penguin Randomm House SA 2015), Things Unseen (Clockwork Books, 2016) and Delilah Now Trending (Penguin Random House SA 2017) Delilah was chosen for the Exclusive Books homebru Promotion in June 2017. Pamela has two children and one husband and lives in Johannesburg.

Phillippa Yaa de Villiers

Phillippa Yaa de Villiers writes, performs and lectures in Creative Writing at Wits University, Johannesburg. Her poetry collections Taller than buildings (2006) and The everyday wife (2010), (winner of the South African Literary Prize in 2011), and ice- cream headache in my bone forthcoming in 2017. She co-edited No Serenity Here, an anthology of African poetry translated into Mandarin. (2010). Her short stories The day that Jesus dropped the ball (shortlisted for Pen/Studinski Prize 2009) and Keeping everything the same (winner: National Arts Festival/Het Beschrijf Writing beyond the fringe winner 2009). Her one-woman play Original Skin toured South Africa and abroad. Since 2007 she has read and performed at poetry festivals in Germany, Denmark, UK, Cuba, Sweden, Zimbabwe and Ghana, and her work is translated into French, Dutch, Flemish, Burmese, Mandarin, Italian, German and Spanish. In 2016 she served on the judging panel for the African Poetry Book Fund’s Sillerman Prize. She received a MA Creative Writing in 2014 from Lancaster University.

Richard Poplak

Richard Poplak is an award-winning author, journalist, and graphic novelist, and a senior correspondent at South Africa’s Daily Maverick news site. He has spent the last nine years traveling Africa, researching a book that interrogates the idea of a rising Africa, entitled Continental Shift: A Journey Through Africa’s Changing Fortunes (Jonathan Ball, 2016). A Rockefeller Foundation Fellow, Poplak has worked in over 30 countries in the developing world for publications such as theGuardian, the Financial Times and the Walrus, and serves a member of the groundbreaking international journalist collective Deca. His next book will be an in depth expose of the global mining industry, and will be published by Penguin Random House.

Shubnum Khan

Shubnum Khan is a South African author, artist and freelance writer. She was previously a Media Studies lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and she has a Media Studies degree summa cum laude and a Masters degree in English cum laude. She published her first novel, Onion Tears, with Penguin. It has been translated into Italian. it was shortlisted for the Penguin Prize for African Writing and the University of Johannesburg Debut Fiction Prize. In 2012 she was selected as the Mail & Guardian’s 200 young South Africans. She has published articles with the Huffington Post South Africa, Marie Claire, O, The Oprah Magazine, The Sunday Times, and the Culture Trip amongst others. She has published short stories in New Contrast and Flash the short story magazine in the UK. She has published literary work in Norway and Vietnam. In 2013 she traveled to Indian occupied Kashmir and taught in a village on a mountain. In 2015 she was selected for the Art Omi Ledig House Writer’s Residency in New York. In 2016 she was selected for the Swatch Art Peace Hotel’s Residency in Shanghai. She is currently working on a collection of short stories and on her second novel, Paper Flowers.

Sindiwe Magona

Recognised internationally for her activism in women’s issues, the plight of children and the fight against segregation and racism, Sindiwe Magona is also an award-winning novelist, poet, playwright, actress and motivational speaker who uses her creative talents to inform, challenge and inspire. Sindiwe’s literary career began with small articles for Raven Press in the late ‘70s and blossomed into her first autobiography for David Philips Publishers titled To My Children’s Children (1990), followed by the sequel Forced to Grow (1992). In 1991 she published the highly acclaimed short story collection Living, Loving, and Lying Awake at Night which was voted one of the 20th century’s 100 Best Books from the African Continent. Push-Push and Other Stories, a second collection of short stories, was published in 1996. Mother to Mother, a fictionalized account of the murder of Fulbright scholar Amy Biehl as narrated by the murderer’s mother, appeared in 1998. She also adapted this novel to a play, which was performed at the Baxter Theatre in late 2009. Sindiwe is the author of Teach yourself Xhosa and several other educational children’s books, including The Best Meal Ever! and Life is a hard but beautiful thing, which have been translated into several languages. Other works include the internationally acclaimed novel Beauty’s Gift (2008) which was shortlisted for the 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Africa) as well as the Sunday Times Literary Award.

Stacey Fru

Stacey wrote and illustrated her first book, Smelly Cats, at age seven and her second book, Bob and the Snake, when she was eight. She is now 10 years old and has helped many people realise that you are never too young or too old to live your dream. Stacey runs the Stacey Fru Foundation, which drives a campaign called “A Child a Book”. Stacey will talk about her experiences and her writing at SABF 2017.

Verashni Pillay

Verashni Pillay is the former editor-in-chief of the Mail & Guardian and Huffington Post South Africa. She has worked at various periods as a senior reporter covering politics and general news, specialises in media management and relishes the task of putting together the right team to create compelling and principled journalism across multiple platforms. Verashni is a recipient of the CNN African Journalism Award, several Standard Bank Sikuvile Awards and an Open Society Foundation journalism fellowship. Verashni will take part in a discussion on Colourism, Gender and Beauty.

Yemisi Aribisala

Yemisi Aribisala’s essays on Nigerian food & culinary culture were published by Cassava Republic Press Abuja/London. Longthroat Memoirs Soups, Sex & Nigerian Tastebuds tells the story of culture through the belly & digs into the core of the Nigerian psyche. It won the John Avery Award at the Andre Simone Food & Drink Book Awards 2016. Yemisi regularly contributes to The Chimurenga Chronicle and has written on Nigerian feminism, pentecostal christianity and identity. Yemisi will do a session in the Test Kitchen and also speak on Colourism, Gender and Beauty

Zakes Mda

Zakes Mda is the pen-name of Zanemvula Kizito Gatyeni Mda. He is a Southern African writer, painter, and music composer. He holds an MFA (Theater) and an MA (Telecommunications) from Ohio University, and a PhD from the University of Cape Town. He has been awarded honorary doctorates in literature by the University of Cape Town and the University of the Free State, in technology by the Central University of Technology and in art by Dartmouth College. He has published 22 books, ten of which are novels and the rest collections of plays, poetry and a monograph on the theory and practice of theater-for-development. His works have been translated into 20 languages, including Catalan, Korean, Serbian, German, Swedish, Dutch, Turkish, Norwegian and Italian. They have won a number of awards in South Africa, the USA and Italy, including the Amstel Playwright of the Year Award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Africa, the M-Net Prize, Sanlam Prizes (twice), The Pringle Award, the Sunday Times Literary Prize, the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Legacy Award, Premio Narrativa Sud del Mondo, the University of Johannesburg Literary Prize, the American Library Association Notable Book and the Barry Ronge Fiction Prize of the Sunday Times.  He is a recipient of Ikhamanga Order in Silver from the South African government. His novel Cion, set in southeast Ohio, was nominated for the NAACP Image Award.  His memoir titled Sometimes there is a Void: Memoirs of an Outsider was published by Farrar Straus and Giroux and was the New York Times Notable Book for 2012. His latest works are a novel set in rural Ohio titled Rachel’s Blue (Seagull, 2016) which examines what happens when a rapist fights for paternity rights over the rape-conceived child, and Little Suns (Penguin Random House/Umuzi 2016) , a historical novel set in the Eastern Cape, South Africa between 1879 and 1912. He has published a number of articles in refereed academic journals and has participated in in literary festivals, conferences and book tours in North America, Europe, South America and Australia. His plays are performed quite often at theatre festivals in various parts of the world. He commutes between the USA and South Africa, working as a (retired) professor of creative writing at Ohio University, a beekeeper in the Eastern Cape (running a project he established in 2000 with rural women), a director of NeoZane, a publishing house and animation film production company, Johannesburg, and an Extraordinary Professor of English at the University of the Western Cape. He is also an Honorary Patron of the Market Theatre, Twist Development Theatre, Etisalat Book Prize and the Jozi Book Fair.

Zethu Mathebeni

Since 2011 Zethu has been at HUMA (Institute for Humanities in Africa) at the University of Cape Town as a senior researcher. Zethu is skilful in multidisciplinary approaches and is attentive to the idea and meaning of the public humanities. She has been deeply involved with the #RhodesMustFall Movement and the Black Academic Caucus in South Africa. She is author of Black Lesbian Sexualities and Identity in South Africa (2012), curator/editor of Reclaiming Afrikan: queer perspectives on sexual and gender identities (2014), and director of the film Breaking Out of the Box: stories of black lesbians in South Africa (2011). Zethu’s work appears in numerous journals, edited books, newspapers and magazines. Her current book projects (with Surya Monro and Vasu Reddy) are Queer in Africa: LGBTQI identities, citizenship, and activism and (with B Camminga) Beyond the Mountain: Queer lifein Africa’s Gay Capital’. Zethu will discuss queer rights and writing in Africa at the SABF 2017.

Zimitri Erasmus

Zimitri Erasmus is an associate professor of Sociology in the department of Sociology at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. She is the editor of the seminal volume Coloured by History, Shaped by Place: New Perspectives on Coloured Identities in Cape Town (2001) and in 2010 was a UCT-Harvard Mandela Mellon Fellow. Race Otherwise: Forging a New Humanism for South Africa is her first monograph. Race Otherwise brings together the full amplitude of Zimitri Erasmus’s thinking about how race works. It tunes into registers both personal and social. It is not without indignation, and not … insensitive to emotion and … the anger inside South Africa. It is a book that is not afraid of questions of affect. Eros and love, Erasmus urges, are not separable from the hard work of thinking.’