Major drawcards included the likes of Max du Preez, Edwin Cameron, Tim Noakes and Desmond Tutu, as well as radio hosts Redi Tlhabi (Talk Radio 702) and Eusebius McKaiser (Power FM), competing for listenership on a smaller but more intense scale in a school hall in the winelands.
International talent included Margaret MacMillan, the Warden of Oxford University’s St Antony’s College, whose dry wit undercut the expectations many had of leading intellectual and historian, and author Thomas Keneally, on whose book Schindler’s Ark Steven Spielberg based the iconic film Schindler’s List.
One of the highlights of the festival events was the announcement of the shortlists for the Sunday Times Fiction Prize and the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award (for non-fiction). These were announced on Saturday night at a function packed to the gills with local literati, including judging panel members Annari van der Merwe, Sindiwe Magona and Ivan Vladislavi? (Fiction Prize) and Bill Nasson, Elinor Sisulu and Shaun Johnson (Alan Paton Prize).
The winners of both prizes will be announced in June and will be awarded R75 000 each.
Book prize shortlists – Sunday Times Fiction Prize
1. Lauren Beukes: The Shining Girls (Umuzi)
2. Dominique Botha: False River (Umuzi)
3. Songeziwe Mahlangu: Penumbra (Kwela Books)
4. Claire Robertson: The Spiral House (Umuzi)
5. Eben Venter (translation by Slave Society: The Cape Of Good Hope 1717 – 1795 (Protea Boekhuis)
4. Elizabeth van Heyningen: The Concentration Camps Of The Anglo-Boer War: A Social History (Jacana Media)
5. Shaun Viljoen: Richard Rive – A Partial Biography (Wits University Press)