LitNet and the Jakes Gerwel Foundation’s Kommadagga writing workshop

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Presented by LitNet and the Jakes Gerwel Foundation

LitNet and the Jakes Gerwel Foundation will jointly present a mentorship programme for promising young English and Afrikaans writers in Somerset East from 12 October to 1 November 2020. The programme is intended specifically for short-prose writers and seeks to encourage new writing in South Africa.

Jakes Gerwel was raised in the Kommadagga area, which is why this particular name was chosen for the workshop. The programme includes a three-week residency for five prospective authors at Paulet House, the Foundation’s writers’ house in Somerset East. Purchased in Gerwel’s later years, the house lies at the foot of the Bosberg.

Rachelle Greeff will act as a mentor to the residents. This author and playwright is acclaimed in both Afrikaans and English and has assisted many young writers to publish notable debuts in the past 18 months. Rachelle works in several genres and has won sought-after prizes for her short stories. Her prizewinning plays Die naaimasjien and Rondomskrik were performed across the country, and The sewing machine was performed at the Edinburgh Festival in 2012. In 2002 she was shortlisted for The Caine Prize for African Writing, also known as the “Baby Booker”. Her works have been translated into German, Dutch and Danish.

Rachelle Greeff (Photo: Bernard Jordaan)

We are now accepting applications for the residency; submissions will close on Monday, 14 September 2020 at 12:00. Eligible candidates must not have been published in book form and should have a demonstrable interest in any of the following: crafting short stories (including for magazines), columns, articles or opinion pieces. Please submit applications electronically to [email protected] and include the following information:

  • Short biography (maximum of 300 words) and contact details.
  • At least one anonymous example of written work (please include the title, but not the author’s name).
  • Short motivation on why the candidate would benefit from the programme.

Rachelle says, “Successful candidates must bring focus, perseverance, cognitive energy and curiosity to Somerset East. After the three weeks they should be able to write publishable pieces.”

The cost of travel, accommodation and meals will be covered for the five residents. Obligations will include content delivery for LitNet and participation in interviews. In accordance with the COVID-19 National Disaster Management regulations, residents will be asked to sign indemnity forms and comply with sanitising and distancing regulations during their residency.

The Jakes Gerwel Foundation actively promotes and develops South African literature. Celebrating its 21st birthday this year, LitNet is dedicated to the development of new talent.


Hierdie berig kan ook in Afrikaans gelees word:

LitNet en die Jakes Gerwel Stigting se Kommadagga-slypskool

Read about the workshop participants, their time in Somerset East and the new writing that was fine-tuned during the workshop.

Kommadagga – hier is ons deelnemers

Kommadagga: Poskaarte van Paulet Huis | Postcards from Paulet House

Poskaarte van Paulet Huis | Postcards from Paulet House #2

Kommadagga-opinie: Hou ons begrafnis of show ons af?

Kommadagga essay: Music and my father

Kommadagga-kortverhaal: Jy het nie ’n graad nodig vir common sense nie

Kommadagga-opinie: Goeie chaos

Kommadagga short story: Twee vuilpoppe

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