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Report on “Writers, Place, Identity” colloquium PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 05 March 2007 01:20

The “Writers, Place, Identity” colloquium was recently held on 8-9 December 2003 at Kwa Muhle Museum, Durban. It marked the culmination of the second year of the NRF funded project “Literary Tourism in KwaZulu-Natal”, led by Professor Lindy Stiebel, English Studies, UKZN. The project’s broad aim is to establish a database of all KZN writers on website and CD-ROM, supported by documentary films made on selected KZN writers.


The colloquium was jointly organised by Prof Stiebel and Ms Zoë Molver, English Studies, UKZN who is a collaborator on the project. The invited guest speakers were internationally famous writer, Justin Cartwright, who was born in South Africa, and is now living in London; Jeanette Eve, author of Literary Guide to the Eastern Cape and Prof John Butler-Adam, director of eSATI. The invited audience participants included writers (Aziz Hassim, Harold Strachan), academics and Tourism KZN representatives and others interested in the project’s aims. The first day was devoted to the work of various post-graduate students and staff currently involved in the project: Litzi Lombardozzi who presented on Lewis Nkosi’s writings, Zoë Molver who showed a film on Harold Strachan and spoke on his writing, and Pat Louw who presented a paper on various ‘Zululand’ writers. The work of Prof Graham Stewart and the students from the DIT who have been working on a literary map of KZN on the internet was enthusiastically received and discussed.


The following day focused specifically on theoretical issues concerning writers’ relation to place and intersections with identity, with discussion led by Lindy Stiebel, John Butler-Adam and Justin Cartwright. Three case studies followed on Douglas Livingstone and academic film-making (Zoë Molver), Aziz Hassim’s Durban (Betty Govinden) and Jeanette Eve on the making of her literary guide to the Eastern Cape.


This colloquium proved to be a most successful forum for discussion around possibilities (and pitfalls to be avoided) related to the project’s focus on literary tourism in KwaZulu-Natal. The project hopes to hold this kind of a workshop again next year.



Professor Lindy Stiebel

12 December 2003