Author Bridget Hilton-Barber
Festival star Author Bridget Hilton-Barber

There's a packed programme of events at The Franschhoek Literary Festival on the weekend of May 19 to 21. Don’t miss out on:

THE CHEFReuben Riffel, the well-loved chef, is a Franschhoek local made ever-so-good, with four cookbooks and five restaurants to his name. Eat at Reubens, his flagship restaurant in the village (opening this month with a new look and in a new location), and hear him talk about his amazing journey and his new book, Reuben at Home. [2]*


The villains and heroes of the apartheid years are in the spotlight in some riveting and readable new books. Jonathan Ancer, author of Spy: Uncovering Craig Williamson, and Bridget Hilton-Barber (Student Comrade Prisoner Spy) have intriguing tales to tell in the session Spy vs Spy. [17]

THE CRAFTGot a book inside you? It’s time to get it out. Brilliant local and international authors share their secrets, strategies and skills. Daniel Browde (The Relatively Public Life of Jules Browde) leads the conversation with Claire Robertson (The Magistrate of Gower), Fiona Melrose (Midwinter) and Richard Mason (Who Killed Piet Barol?). [66]

THE FUTURESifiso Ndlovu (The Thabo Mbeki I Know), Anastacia Tomson (Always Anastacia), Griffin Shea, and Marianne Thamm (Hitler, Verwoerd, Mandela and Me) interrogate the systems that divide South Africans and how we can dismantle them, in the session entitled Rattling the Cage of Discrimination. [84]


Sure, we all think we’re funny — but Rebecca Davis, Fred Khumalo, Gail Schimmel and Paige Nick actually are. They’ll be talking about writing funny, and how they get the humour across. [101]

THE CONTINENTDarrel Bristow-Bovey invites Philippa Namutebi Kabali-Kagwa (Flame and Song) and Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (Season of Crimson Blossoms) to share how they reveal their love and knowledge of Africa through fact and fiction. [25]

THE HISTORYMeet Philippe Sands, barrister, human rights activist and author of the absolutely exceptional East West Street, 2016 winner of the UK Baillie Gifford Prize for non-fiction. Set around the Nuremberg trials, it’s part historical detective story, part family history and part legal thriller. [49]


Fred Khumalo
Fred Khumalo

SA’s favourite opinionistas — the likes of Justice Malala, Tom Eaton, Darrel Bristow-Bovey, Fred Khumalo, Paige Nick, Rebecca Davis and Marianne Thamm — will be sharing their wit and wisdom. [52 and 67 and throughout the programme]

Rebecca Davis talks media freedom (or lack thereof ...) with advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, journalist Thandeka Gqubule and cartoonist Zapiro (Dead President Walking). [42]

Repitwah Poetry Band will be at The Elephant & Barrel enthralling audiences with their words and sounds. If you are fearless, there’s an open-mic session — come and show us your own rhythm and rhyme. [79]

* Numbers in brackets refer to the session number on the programme. For the full programme and more details, go to

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