Jo-Anne Richards is an internationally published novelist with a PhD in Creative Writing from Wits University.
Jo-Anne has published five novels, her latest being The Imagined Child, published by Picador. Her first novel, The Innocence of Roast Chicken, was originally published by Headline Review in the UK, but has recently been rereleased as one of the prestigious Picador Africa Classics collection. When it first appeared, it topped the South African bestseller list in its first week and remained there for fifteen weeks. The Innocence of Roast Chicken was chosen as a Dillon’s Debut in London, and showcased as an “outstanding first novel”.
Jo-Anne’s other books include My Brother’s Book, Picador, Touching the Lighthouse, Headline Review and Sad at the Edges, Stephan Phillips. Both Innocence and Touching the Lighthouse were published in German by Droemer Knaur. She has conducted book tours in the UK and Germany, where she also spoke at Bayreuth University on Writing in a Transitional Society.
Jo-Anne has published short stories in six collections and convened the judging panel for the Thomas Pringle Short Story Award in 2010.
Jo-Anne ran the Honours programme in Journalism & Media Studies at Wits University for fifteen years and still facilitates narrative writing workshops at the university. She has worked full-time for four South African newspapers and freelanced for a number of local and international newspapers and magazines, including The Guardian in the UK and US Vanity Fair and Talk.
She has supervised Creative Writing Masters students at Wits and UCT and acted as an examiner and external examiner for the UCT programme.
Richard Beynon is a story consultant and an award-winning film and television scriptwriter with a long and accomplished career.
A former journalist for the Rand Daily Mail, he has conceived, shaped and written scores of documentaries.
He has written for – or headed the writing teams of – many of country’s most popular soaps from Isidingo to Scandal and S’gudi S’naysi.
He managed the writing team at Isidingo for three years, as well as contributing over three hundred scripts to the series. He is currently part of the writing team on the daily drama, Isibaya.
He has lectured on writing for film and television at Wits. He has won numerous awards for his work specifically in comedy, soap and children’s drama.
Michele Rowe, designer and facilitator of How to Write a Screenplay, is a South African scriptwriter who has worked primarily as a head writer and story originator for television and film. Projects she has originated, written or directed have been nominated for or won various awards, including an Oscar documentary and International Emmy nomination. What Hidden Lies, her first crime novel, and winner of the 2011 Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award was launched in South Africa in June 2013 (published by Penguin Books). Hour of Darkness was published by Penguin Random House in 2015.
She attended the National School of the Arts in Johannesburg, and has a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town.
She was a founder member of Free Film Makers, an anti-apartheid group of filmmakers, directors and actors who created acclaimed independent documentaries and dramas.
From there she moved into documentary film chiefly as a researcher, scriptwriter and film archivist, on projects ranging from historical biography, wild life documentaries, political and social reportage, drama series and feature films, before graduating to writing and directing drama.
Michele’s work reflects her ongoing preoccupation with South Africa’s culture, politics and history through the medium of drama and story.
At present she works as a script editor, teaches screenwriting and is completing her third novel for Penguin.
Fred de Vries (Rotterdam, 1959) is a Dutch writer/journalist, who moved to South Africa in 2003 to do research for a biography of Johannesburg Beat poet Sinclair Beiels. Earlier he wrote Respect! (with Toine Heijmans), about hip-hop in Europe. In 2006 he published Club Risiko, a look at 80s underground music in six cities.
He wrote about his travels for The Sunday Times and Sunday Independent, and taught travel writing as a guest lecturer at Wits. He had an interview column for The Weekender, which were collected in The Fred de Vries Interviews; From Abdullah to Zille. In 2012 he wrote a book about the post-1994 fate of the Afrikaners, called Afrikaners, volk op drift, translated into Afrikaans as Rigtingbedonnerd. That same year he published Gehavende Stad with Erik Brus, an overview of 50 years of literature and music in Rotterdam. Afrikaners, volk op drift was nominated for Best Journalism Book and Best Travel Book in 2013. De Vries was nominated for Correspondent of the Year in 2014 and 2015.
She has worked in the mass media as well as the corporate world, and has spent a lot of time training other writers as well as writing everything from magazine articles and below-the-line advertising copy to strategic corporate documents.
One of her passions is training people from all spheres of business in the art of writing well, so that they can produce effective business communication that reflects well on both them and their companies.
Another of her passions is introducing children to the joys of creative writing. Mandy teaches the Allaboutwriting Business Writing Courses.