Seen elsewhere: The Franschhoek Literary Festival

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The Franschhoek Literary Festival took place on 17–19 May 2024.

Jonathan Amid wrote on Facebook:

Much like in 2023 but with infinitely more pleasant weather, FLF [Franschhoek Literary Festival] was a tremendous success. To be frank, there’s an entirely different kind of atmosphere and feel to the whole enterprise these days. The dizzying Zuma years in particular – before the COVID-19 hiatus – often saw panel after panel after panel built around discussions of ANC and government failures and how much trouble we’re in drawing demographically homogeneous and privileged crowds to the sleepy hollow of Franschhoek. Not enough literature, perhaps, and lots of focus on political analysis and state of the nation diagnoses.

With a significant shift away from political “doom and gloom” post-Covid in 2023 and a far more balanced, expansive and exciting programme focusing anew on all things Literary, the festival won me over once more. Quite simply, 2024 managed to find a genuinely impressive sweet spot between crowd-pleasing and very fun “bigger” sessions, thoughtful panels with a number of international author draws like Cecilia Ahern, Pip Williams, David Walliams and many others – with smaller and more intimate sessions giving voice to excellent indie publishers and authors and a thorough exploration of pressing issues like climate catastrophe, international criminal networks and women’s rights. Almost always the moderators were good, even excellent, while the speakers so often complemented one another and had infectious chemistry and rapport.

The Exclusive Books pop-up shop damn near bankrupted me. Faces all around looked happy, relaxed, excited. For a whole weekend – no loadshedding in sight – we could forget our national crises and our own fears and anxieties to enjoy inspiring and generous bookishness and literary reflection. While there’s no such thing as a perfect event or festival I for one am quite thrilled at what the FLF offered this year. Hurrah!!!

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  • Agree entirely- a fantastic event, thrilling speakers, great chairs, so professionally put together- oh, and, perfect weather!
    Well done all!

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