Johannesburg, South Africa

Organizers:  Hans Pienaar & Gary Cummiskey-Melville Poetry Festival


.Poets who will be reading at the 100 000 Poets for Change Johannesburg event at Picobella restaurant, Melville:

Gary Cummiskey is a poet and publisher living in Johannesburg.He is the editor of Dye Hard Press, which since 1994 has published writers such as Gail Dendy, Arja Salafranca, Alan Finlay, Philip Zhuwao, Gus Ferguson, Kobus Moolman and Allan Kolski Horwitz. Cummiskey is the author of several poetry chapbooks, the latest being Romancing the Dead (Tearoom Books, Durban 2009) and Sky Dreaming (Graffiti Kolkata, India, 2011). In 2009, he published Who was Sinclair Beiles? a collection of writings about the South African Beat poet, co-edited with Eva Kowalska. That same year, he compiled Beauty Comes Grovelling Forward, a selection of South African poetry and prose published on Big Bridge. His debut collection of short fiction, Off-ramp, will be published in 2013.

Michelle McGrane lives in Johannesburg and blogs at Peonymoon. Her collection The Suitable Girlis published by Pindrop Press in the United Kingdom and Modjaji Books in South Africa.

Phillippa Yaa de Villiers was the 2011 winner of the South African Literary Award for Poetry for The Everyday Wife (Modjaji Books 2010). She has studied theatre and scriptwriting. She won Writing Beyond the Fringe and was shortlisted for the Pen/Studinski Prize (2009) and won two awards at the Pansa Scriptwriting Awards (2005). She published Taller than Buildings (2006) and contributed to various local and overseas publications and journals. She has performed her poetry and her one-woman show Original Skin locally and internationally. She co-edited No Serenity Here, an anthology of African poetry, in 2010 and she co-hosts Jozi House of Poetry, a monthly session of contemporary poetry. She won a scholarship to do a Master’s in Creative Writing at Lancaster University from 2012-2014.

David Chislett is a poet and speaker from Johannesburg. In love with the city, he writes and performs his poetry as spoken word, music and stories wherever he can. His debut collection For Your Or Someone Like You was published in July 2012. He has previously published a collection of short stories and a music industry text book. He is currently touring South Africa launching the book and conducting live performances, key note presentations and workshops. David is a self-publishing and marketing perpetual motion machine with a novel on the go and a couple of documentary films in planning. When he is not travelling or performing he has been known to drink coffee and sleep.

Arja Salafranca’s debut collection of short stories, The Thin Line, was published by Modjaji Books, in 2010. Her first poetry collection, A life stripped of illusions, received the 1994 Sanlam Award for poetry, while a short story, ‘Couple on the Beach’ was a winner of the same award in 1999 for short fiction. Her second collection of poetry, The fire in which we burn, was published by Dye Hard Press in 2000. An anthology of prose and poetry, Glass Jars Among Trees, co-edited with Alan Finlay, was published by Jacana in 2003. Her poetry was also published in Isis X (Botsotso, 2005). She edited the anthology The Edge of Things: South African Short Fiction, published by Dye Hard Press in 2011. She is the editor of the Life supplement in the Johannesburg-based The Sunday Independent, and has an MA in Creative Writing from Wits University.

Khulile Nxumalo comes from Diepkloof in Soweto. He went to school there and later in Swaziland. He attended University in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg, and is currently working towards a Master’s in Dramatic Arts. His first book of poems, ten flapping elbows, mama  was published by deepsouth in 2004, and his work continue to appear in journals both local and overseas. He is finalising his second book called fhedzi -dedicated to his Venda biological father – which is to be published by Dye Hard Press in 2013. Khulile is currently poet in residence at the Afrikan Freedom Station, which is an contemporary culture and living art space,

Gérard Rudolf is a writer, poet, director and actor. He grew up in the cultural car crash zones of Cape Town and Johannesburg. After setting fire to his life in Cape Town he headed for the UK in 2002 where he started writing full time. Orphaned Latitudes (Red Squirrel Press, UK) is his first collection of poetic writings. He returned to South Africa in 2010. He lives in Johannesburg.

Hans Pienaar is a journalist working for Business Day and has won awards for non-fiction (Rapport Prize), fiction (Marius Jooste Prize and Cosaw Prize), and drama (Pansa national first prize in 2005). He is the chairman of the Melville Poetry Festival. Earlier this year he received his MA in Creative Writing (cum laude). Among his other books are Die Lewe Ondergronds, Die Trojaanse Perd, Forces Favourites, Die derde oorlog teen Mapoch, Die Taal van Voëls and Notas uit die Empire. He wrote and produced the plays Please tell us what’s going on, please, Ching Chong Che and Three Dozen Roses.

René Bohnen is a KZN-born poet, features writer and photographer. In 2011 her second volume of poetry, in die niks al om, was published by LAPA. Her first volume of poetry, Spoorsny, was a finalist for the Ingrid Jonker Prize in 2001. Poems have also appeared in various anthologies. In 2001 René wrote a poem for a choreographer in the Dance Umbrella Festival and in 2008 some of her haikus formed part of Prayers for the Landscape, a Land Art installation by Strijdom Van der Merwe at the KKNK in Oudtshoorn. More recently, some poems have been set to music and some have been interpreted in short animations. As a member of the Bekgeveg team of poets and of the Oopmond team, René has taken part in many shows of performance poetry and slam poetry at the various arts festivals countrywide. In 2009 she obtained a Master’s degree in creative writing at the University of Pretoria.

Alan Finlay lives in Johannesburg where he works as a writer, researcher and editor on issues of media freedoms and internet rights. His poems have appeared in various journals locally and abroad, and short selections of his poetry have been published by small presses. Over the years he has founded and edited a number of literary publications, including Bleksem and donga (with Paul Wessels). With Arja Salafranca he co-edited a collection of prose and poetry called glass jars among trees (Jacana, 2003) He was editor of New Coin poetry journal from 2003-2007. His latest collection of poems, pushing from the riverbank, was published by Dye Hard Press in October 2010, and a selection from donga was published in book form in 2012 (BLeKSEM, Dye Hard Press, Botsotso Publishing).

Corné Coetzee writes poetry about angry, sad or gloriously happy housewives, mothers and other people. She works as a journalist for Beeld and specialises in community news and green stories. She is happily married to Hans Pienaar, has two daughters and lives in Auckland Park, Johannesburg.


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