Janet van Eeden

I’ve written eighteen feature screenplays as well as numerous short films, written and produced six stage plays (and directed two) and taken each one to the Grahamstown Arts Festival, with funding from the National Arts Council.

A full-length feature film I wrote, White Lion, premiered at the Durban International Film Festival in July 2009 and was released internationally in February 2010.

Since 2011, I have offered an online Scriptwriting Course which has attracted students from across the world and continues to do so.

I won the 2011 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award as a Columnist for The Sunday Independent.

I wrote and produced the short of A Shot at the Big Time. Shot, the Short was filmed in July 2012, directed by Stephen de Villiers, and premiered at the Durban International Film Festival in July 2013. In November 2013 Shot, the short was nominated for an eThekwini Award. It won for Best Cinematography (Luke Pallett, DOP).  In May, 2014, Shot, the short was selected for the Cannes Short Film Corner, Metrage.

In 2015, the Writers’ Guild of South Africa nominated three of my stage plays for the Award of Outstanding Achievement in Produced Stage Plays. I was given the Muse Award for A Matter of Time. My stage play, The Space Between, was nominated for a Muse Award in the same category, in March 2017.

I am currently producing A Shot at the Big Time, the feature. I raised R100 000 on Indiegogo.com in January 2016. We received funding from the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission in June 2017 and we will start production of the film in 2018.

I have my Masters in English (cum laude), and graduated with Doctorate  of Philosophy on 7th September, 2017, in English Studies. My thesis was entitled "Beyond the Biopic: An Exploration into the Nature of Biography through the Medium of film". The degree was awarded by the University of KwaZulu-Natal, School of Humanities, Pietermaritzburg.

I am the Head of Post Graduate Studies at AFDA Durban Film & Performance School.

Inter-review with Megan Choritz, author of Lost property

Janet van Eeden, Megan Choritz Books and writers 2023-12-12

"It’s difficult to explain, especially when asked what is and isn’t 'true', and I always end up saying that all the feelings are real, but that I may have made up the incidents and even the characters to put those feelings across."

Inter-review with Stephen "Spling" Aspeling about his book, The essence of dreams: An anthology of film reviews

Janet van Eeden, Stephen Spling Aspeling Books and writers 2023-12-04

"[South Africa’s] biggest challenge is self-esteem for our own talents – having to be told who’s world-class by international speculators, rather than realising this through our own people and media. Then, we’re also struggling to get the funding of local films right, performing miracles on shoestring budgets and being expected simply to rinse and repeat these miracles."

In the shadow of the Springs I saw by Barbara Adair: an inter-review

Janet van Eeden, Barbara Adair Books and writers 2023-11-09

"If I have to find a protagonist, to anthropomorphise, yes, the buildings are the protagonist. But then, for me, what is a protagonist? A leading character? We are all leaders in some form or another."

My year of not getting sh*tfaced! by Pamela Power: an inter-review

Janet van Eeden, Pamela Power Books and writers 2023-08-28

"I have my doubts that it’s genetic. I think that the anxiety is genetic and the alcohol is a form of self-medication. We also learn from the example set by our parents/caregivers. The whole 'needing a drink to relax' after a stressful day and the adults in our lives having what seems to be a whale of a time when they’re drunk – we learn that that’s how we should behave."

Inter-review with Anne Schlebusch about her book, Bloomer

Janet van Eeden, Anne Schlebusch Books and writers 2023-07-11

"With the help of Maggie’s enterprising grandchildren they start a Boomers’ Rights Campaign which catches the attention of the press. They demand freedom of movement, among other things."

Cut to the chase: Scriptwriting for beginners – an interview with Janet van Eeden

Naomi Meyer, Janet van Eeden Books and writers 2023-03-23

"Filmmaking is famously described as 'showing and not telling'. My favourite thing about it is that screenwriting is the art of getting a character to say something which reveals a completely different truth to the words they say. As Emma Thompson said when I had the honour of meeting her (it’s in the book!), screenwriting is the art of a character saying, 'Pass me the butter', when they really mean, 'You have ruined my life.'"

It doesn’t have to be this way: Inter-review with Alistair Mackay

Janet van Eeden, Alistair Mackay Books and writers 2022-12-19

"The scenario of this book was in my subconscious. The challenge was writing a story of love, hope and resilience within it."

Inter-review of The man who loved crocodile tamers by Finuala Dowling

Janet van Eeden, Finuala Dowling Books and writers 2022-08-11

"The man who loved crocodile tamers is a strongly stitched patchwork of events in the life of Paddy Dowling, Finuala Dowling’s father, interspersed with extracts from the 'writer’s' personal diary."

Uncovering Modjaji Books – celebrating 15 years of beautiful book covers: Janet van Eeden in conversation with Colleen Higgs

Janet van Eeden, Colleen Higgs Books and writers 2022-08-05

Janet van Eeden asked Colleen a few questions about the exhibition that is on from 4 to 13 August at the Spin Street Gallery in Cape Town, Uncovering Modjaji Books, a celebration of the beautiful covers which have come out of Modjaji’s imprint.

Inter-review with Michelle Edwards, author of the novel, Go away birds

Janet van Eeden, Michelle Edwards Books and writers 2022-02-24

Janet van Eeden interviews Michelle Edwards and also writes: "The novel is page-turningly good. The plot moves swiftly through the first-person voice of Skye, who is that most delicious of literary devices: an unreliable narrator."

Whistleblowing: Athol Williams "in conversation with" Janet van Eeden

Janet van Eeden Books and writers 2021-11-22

Janet van Eeden: "I tried to interview Athol Williams about his new book of poetry called Whistleblowing, but the timing was never quite right, as he was fearing for his safety. Therefore, I put together comments of my own and quoted from poems from his above publication to create a commentary, and also cited an earlier interview I did with Williams in 2012."

Inter-review with Fiona Snyckers, author of The school gates – light with a bite

Janet van Eeden, Fiona Snyckers Books and writers 2021-11-05

"I wanted to make the point that competitive parenting has become a worldwide phenomenon."

Seen elsewhere: Goodwill and compassion are stronger than the forces of destruction

Janet van Eeden Elders gesien 2021-07-16

"This is what we must hold on to. Goodwill and compassion are stronger than the forces of destruction, whatever the agenda of the agitators is."

Death and the after-parties by Joanne Hichens: an inter-review

Janet van Eeden, Joanne Hichens Books and writers 2021-05-12

"I didn’t set out to be so honest, particularly about my childhood. I was going to write a short grief memoir, but the more I wrote, the more I understood that one’s childhood plays a role in how we grieve, that how we deal with loss as adults is connected to how we face loss as children, and so I went down that road, open to exploring my childhood." 

Walking in the shadow by Carmen Radtke: an inter-review

Janet van Eeden, Carmen Radtke Books and writers 2021-03-11

"The story of Jimmy Kokupe is an unlikely subject for a historical drama, but his character is based on one of a number of men who were sent to the island by the British colony to live out their days in isolation during the early 1900s."