Some courage for writers from the Kingsmead Book Fair – part three

 In Creative Writing Courses, How to write a book, Tips for Writers

Here’s part three of our takeaways and tips from the Kingsmead Book Fair. The theme this year was courage, and the writers who took part in the panel discussions certainly demonstrated a great deal of courage both in their writing and in the knowledge and wisdom they imparted to us. Our hope is that some of this knowledge and wisdom can bring you the courage you need to tell the story you have been wanting to tell.

In the session “Quality not Quantity: The Art of Short Story Writing”,  Joanne Hichens (Fluid: The Freedom to Be), Zaheera Jina  Asvat (The Tears of the Weaver), Terry-Ann Adams (White Chalk: Stories) and Chase Rhys (Misfit: Stories vannie anne kant) talked to Karina Szczurek about short story writing and its potential for telling the stories that often remain untold.

Here are some of the top takeaways from their discussion:

Joanne Hichens

  1. Short story collections can provide a much needed opportunity for platforming a diversity of writers and stories. This is especially important in South Africa where many stories remain untold.
  2. It can take a great deal of courage to tell stories about the most hidden and intimate parts of ourselves but this can often be empowering if we are able to do it.
  3. “As writers we are always afraid of what people will think, the reviews. We just have stand behind our work.”


Terry-Ann Adams

  1. It is important tell stories that are not usually told and about characters that are not usually found in mainstream literature in order to give those communities and people a voice.
  2. Writers may face social repercussions when telling certain stories. It takes courage to tell these stories and it is important for writers to find ways to navigate these potential social repercussions.
  3. Stories can give us the opportunity to turn the things we are ridiculed for into our armour.


Zaheera Jina  Asvat

  1. It is important to tell the stories about things that usually remain hidden behind closed doors.
  2. Telling these kinds of stories can be a risk to the writer as they expose things that people don’t want exposed.
  3. It is important to humanise characters who go against stereotypes and tell stories from their perspective in order to challenge these stereotypes.


Chase Rhys

  1. Stories are important way to show the diversity within communities that are often stereotyped or seen as a monolith.
  2. Stories can provide a space for those who are normally ostracised by society to find be themselves and find strength in that. It can help people to embrace being a “misfit”.
  3. Using writing to find strength in being a “misfit” can help us process and overcome the oppression we may face in society.

Read part one here, part two here, and happy writing!

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