Writers’ Boot Camp comes to Cape Town, 24 – 29 November 2014

Writers’ Boot Camp, Cape Town

Submissions due by 31 October 2014

Writers’ Studio in conjunction with Cape Town Central Library present five days of writing workshops for emerging and established writers. Facilitated by acclaimed writers and teachers, and fueled by peer critique, the daily sessions are designed to help participants assess their own work objectively while working on issues of craft. A series of evening events and a story exchange seminar powered by Narrative 4 will complete the workshops.

The Writers Boot Camp will be facilitated by Jeffery Renard Allen, Rob Spillman, Rachel Zadok and Jenna Bass.

How to Apply

Send a writing sample, your best short story (3000 words max) and a short bio to meandmymanuscript@gmail.com by midnight of 31st October 2014. Selected applicants will be informed by 8th of November 2014.

The workshop is non-residential and, as such, participants are responsible for all logistical aspects of their participation.

The workshop is free, participants will not be charged a participation fee.


Writers’ Studio organises programs for anyone wishing to nurture their creativity, stimulate their imagination and develop their writing skills. Writers’ Studio is for both beginner writers, would like to learn the fundamentals of writing, and experienced writers who wish to sharpen their writing skills.

Writers’ Studio was started in 2013 by Nigerian writer, Samuel Kolawole. Writers’ Studio has successfully organised writing workshops in several major cities in Nigeria with hundreds of writers participating. The project was so well-received that in 2014 the organization decided to extend their activities to other African countries. In June 2014, Writers’ Studio, in collaboration with the Center for African Cultural Excellence (CACE), the Prince Claus Fund, the Danish Centre for Culture and Development, Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa, and The African Writers Trust, presented a five day workshop during the WRITIVISM Festival in Kampala, Uganda. The project was in collaboration with Center for African Cultural Excellence (CACE), Past facilitators of Writers’ Studio workshops have included, amongst others, literary agent David Godwin; Zukiswa Wanner; NoViolet Bulawayo; Abubakar Adam Ibrahim; Toni Kan; Igoni Barrett; Yewande Omotoso; Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi and Ayodele Morroco Clarke.


Jeffery Renard Allen

Jeffery Renard Allen is the author of five books, most recently the widely celebrated novel Song of the Shank, which is a riff on the life of Thomas Greene Wiggins, a nineteenth century African American piano virtuoso and composer who performed under the stage name Blind Tom. The novel was featured on the front page of the New York Times Book Review. Allen is also the author of two collections of poetry, Stellar Places (Moyer Bell 2007) and Harbors and Spirits (Moyer Bell 1999), and two other works of fiction. His widely celebrated novel Rails Under My Back (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2000) won The Chicago Tribune‘s Heartland Prize for Fiction, and the story collection Holding Pattern (Graywolf Press 2008), which won the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence.

Born in Chicago, Allen holds a PhD in English (Creative Writing) from the University of Illinois at Chicago and is currently a faculty member in the writing programme at the New School. He is also fiction director for the Norman Mailer Center’s Writers Colony in Provincetown, and served as the Program Director for Literature for the Jahazi Literature and Jazz Festival in Zanzibar, East Africa.

Allen is the proud father of three children and is happily married to Zawadi Kagoma Katunzi Allen, who is formerly of Tanzania.

Rob Spillman

Rob Spillman is editor of Tin House magazine and editorial advisor of Tin House Books. He was previously the monthly book columnist for Details magazine and is a contributor of book reviews and essays to Salon and Bookforum. He has written for the Baltimore Sun, the Boston Review, British GQ, Connoisseur, Details, Nerve, the New York Times Book Review, Premiere, Rolling Stone, Spin, Sports Illustrated, SPY, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Worth, among other magazines, newspapers, and online magazines. He has also worked for Random House, Vanity Fair, and the New Yorker.

Rachel Zadok

Rachel Zadok is a writer and publisher. She has a National Diploma in Fine Art and is a graduate of The Novel Studio, City University, London. In 2005, she was a winner in the Richard & Judy How to Get Published Competition and her first novel, Gem Squash Tokoloshe, was published by Pan Macmillan later that year. Gem Squash Tokoloshe went on to be shortlisted for The Whitbread First Novel Award and The John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, and longlisted for the IMPAC award.

Zadok’s second novel, Sister-sister (Kwela Books) was published in South Africa in 2013. Sister-sister was shortlisted for the Herman Charles Bosman Prize and The UJ Prize, and long-listed for The Sunday Times Fiction Award.

In 2011, she launched Short Story Day Africa, an initiative to highlight African short fiction. Short Story Day Africa published an anthology of African writing, Feast, Famine & Potluck, in 2013 and two stories from the collection went on to be shortlisted for The Caine Prize for African Writing, with one winning the 2014 prize.

She lives in Cape Town with her husband and daughter.

Jenna Cato Bass

Jenna Bass (b. 1986) is a South African writer, filmmaker and ex-magician. Her short film, The Tunnel, was supported by the Focus Features Africa First Short Film Program, premiered at the Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals and continues to screen internationally. In 2014, Jenna’s nano-budget, improvised directorial debut, Love The One You Love, which she also produced, shot and designed, had its world premiere at the Durban International Film Festival in 2014, where it won the awards for Best Actress, Best South African Feature Film and Best Direction In A South African Feature Film. She is currently developing her second feature, Flatland, a feminist Western, as well as several other projects, including a Cape Flats-set hip-hopera mini-series, entirely in Kaapse Afrikaans slang, and music videos for local artists. In 2012, under her pen-name Constance Myburgh, she was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing. Jenna is also the editor and co-creator of Africa’s only pulp-literary magazine, Jungle Jim, and a programmer for the Encounters Documentary Film Festival.

Binyavanga Wainaina

Binyavanga Wainaina is a Kenyan author, journalist and winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing. In April 2014, Time magazine included Wainaina in its annual TIME 100 as one of the “Most Influential People in the World.”

Story Exchange by Narrative 4

Narrative 4 is a global organisation headed up by some of the world’s most renowned and influential authors, artists and community leaders who have come together to promote empathy through the exchange of stories. In an effort to break down barriers and shatter stereotypes, N4 encourages people to walk in each other’s shoes and prove that not only does every story matter, every life matters.

A story exchange seminar will be held at the end of the Boot Camp.

Guest Speakers

Ntone Edjabe

Ntone Edjabe is a writer, journalist, DJ and founding editor of Chimurenga magazine

Siphiwo Mahala

Siphiwo Mahala is a champion for South African literature in his job as the head of Books And Publishing at the Department of Arts & Culture. He’s also a very fine writer. His novel, When a Man Cries about the provocative issue of circumcision rituals was translated into isiXhosa as Yakhal’ Indoda. His book of short stories, African Delights is smart, playful and full of wonderful insight into human nature.

Categories: Calls for & opportunities

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