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On Sunday morning I sat on the stage of a school hall in Franschhoek and watched someone in the grips of what looked like an unusual form of demonic possession. I say “unusual” because demonic possession is par for the course at the Franschhoek Literary Festival, or indeed anywhere that writers gather.

I don’t want to suggest by invoking the minions of hell that writing is an ordeal. Far too many writers spend far too much time whingeing about it without also admitting that writing can be a joy and a blessing, providing the sort of intensely focused leisure we last experienced as children playing in mud...

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