The Department of Afrikaans and
Dutch has been presenting workshops on creative writing for students and
members of the public since 1999. The purpose of our annual workshops is to
offer prospective writers the opportunity of honing their talents under guidance
of an established writer or an expert from the writing and publishing
profession. Poetry is by far the most popular genre, but workshops in other
genres are also regularly presented: short stories (including regional and
magazine stories); columns and essays; novels; dramas; and children and youth
literature. Workshops for high-school pupils have also been presented. Among
the more than 50 writers who have already presented workshops are the Hertzog
Prize winners Marlene van Niekerk, Ingrid Winterbach, Henning Pieterse, Petra
Müller, Deon Opperman and Tertius Kapp.
We do not undertake to turn
anyone into a well-known author within a few hours’ time. We do attempt,
however, to stir up slumbering talents, and to help develop creative and
critical thinking. For that purpose we provide space for discussing the work of
prospective writers within a group context. Furthermore, workshop participants
are exposed to the writing of established writers so as to broaden their
reading experience. Pitfalls easily stepped into are pointed out. Information
on publication possibilities and the preparation of manuscripts is provided.
The workshops usually take place
on weekends (Friday afternoon till Saturday afternoon; or only Saturdays) at
the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch. Among other things, the programme
consists of talks, work sessions and text discussions. In order to do the
workshop format justice and to ensure effective interaction, places are
limited. Participants must submit a manuscript beforehand (for instance, three
poems or a short story), which will be reviewed by the presenters and discussed
in the work sessions.
Since the Department regards the
writers’ workshops a service to the community, entry fees are kept as low as
possible. The entry fee includes: notes (booklets with participants’
poems/short stories, notes, etc.), tea/coffee and light refreshments.