Authors & Speakers

Indie Authors Rise Up

Photo Credit:  Murray Williams

Blue Weaver

Book Distributors

So, you’ve published your book. It’s written, edited, typeset and printed. All you need now is to see it on the shelf of your nearest bookstore. While this may seem like a daunting task, it can be made easy with the help of a book distributor.

Join us as we give you the ins and outs of getting your book distributed.

With over 20 years in the book trade Blue Weaver Marketing has distributed for self-published authors and local and international publishers alike. With a passion for the written word and getting local stories into bookstores, they have assisted many authors through the process of getting their stories to the South African Trade.

During this panel experienced staff members from Blue Weaver take self-published authors through the steps of getting their book distributed and the various benefits that come with having the support of a distributor.

With a wide range of services and tailored distribution solutions, Blue Weaver is committed to providing quality service to their authors.

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Michalsons Giles Inc

AI and the Future of Copyright: Join Refilwe Motsoeneng, IP and AI specialist from Michalsons, for a deep dive on the burgeoning world of AI-assisted writing and its impact on the traditional concept of authorship. In her sessions, she will unpack the exciting possibilities and complex legal questions surrounding AI’s role in book creation.

She’ll explore:  How AI is being used to craft narratives, generate content, and revolutionise the publishing process; The murky waters of copyright: Who owns the rights to a book written with AI assistance? The author, the programmer, or somewhere in between?; Potential solutions and frameworks for navigating copyright in the age of AI co-creation and the ethical considerations of AI authorship in the literary landscape.

This session is perfect for you if you’re curious about using AI to enhance your writing, wondering about copyright ownership when collaborating with AI tools or eager to navigate the legalities of AI-generated content. Looking for insights into the future of authorship in the digital age.

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Print on Demand

An invitation to indie authors to expand their horizons with Print on Demand’s comprehensive self-publishing services

Print on Demand, a leader in one-stop self-publishing services and global book distribution, is excited to announce our second collaboration with Fringe Fireside Chats. “We aim to inspire and empower indie authors supporting them at every stage of their journey. I look forward to discussing How to Turn Your Manuscript into a Masterpiece and Enjoy Global Distribution, by revealing our latest developments in Africa and beyond…” said Tertius van Eeden, CEO of Print on Demand.

Self-publishing can be an overwhelming journey, faced with hurdles such as high upfront costs that drain your resources.

Print on Demand has turned the tables on traditional publishing, giving control back to the authors. We believe that by partnering with Print on Demand, we can offer even more comprehensive support, combining our expertise to provide a truly unique experience.

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Book marketer Cathy Park Kelly

If you are an author with your books gathering dust in a box, and the thought of marketing makes you cringe, then this interactive workshop is for you. Cathy’s workshop will help you reignite your passion for your story by showing you 3 practical steps to reimagine your story’s narrative power and find your readers. She’ll help you reframe ‘marketing’ from a blush-worthy grind to an enthused and energised adventure. This workshop will show you how to find and connect with your readers; and make more sales (without having to dance on TikTok!) As an author and freelance writer, she is very enthusiastic about helping authors promote their books.

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Amanda de Klerk

Amanda de Klerk is a seasoned hiker and pilgrim who over the years has walked five long distance Caminos in Europe as well as three local pilgrimage trails. Through her career as a clinical psychologist, she has applied her interest in mindfulness and its ability to deal with stress. Amanda believes in walking as a therapeutic modality, and its potential for healing and growth. She strives to live a life of simplicity and gratitude, is passionate about walking and spending time in nature with her four dogs. Her love of people and pilgrimage was the inspiration for the book Arrows of Awareness which she hopes will serve as a spiritual companion for those on pilgrimage. 

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Cathy Donald

From an early age Cathy loved writing stories, and later became involved in speech and drama and script writing for dramatic productions and musicals. Her career path, however, led her to  beome a medical doctor, subsequently working in rural hospitals as well as urban private practices. Since her children have become adults, she has again been able to indulge her passion for stories. She has published five novels: The Reluctant Cuckoo (2016), Miles to Go (2018) The Silence of the Shadows (2020) Breathless (2022) and The First Stone (2023). In 2022, her novel The Silence of the Shadows was awarded the Jury prize at the Milan International Literary Awards.  

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Brenda Clur

Brenda’s insights regarding canine nutrition and homemade dog food were gained through her studies at the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris, after which she compiled a weekly cookery column for the Sunday Times before completing post graduate studies to become a Food Safety Management Systems auditor. She has researched canine nutrition over many years of showing and breeding dogs for the Kennel Union of South Africa. Her in-depth knowledge of cooking methods, food microbiology and safety is informed by her work auditing dog food manufacturing facilities in South Africa, for local and export markets.

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Carmen Burls

Carmen’s background and passion for the ocean has cultivated her unique culinary perspective. Growing up between the Eastern Cape, Transkei and the Overberg, she gained insights into an array of different cuisines. Her strong European and South African background have shaped her approach to cooking, resulting in the creation of Edible Shores. Her memoir Edible Shores captures her journey from childhood to womanhood, intertwining her love for the outdoors, healthy eating, and sustainable living. Nature’s bounty has left a lasting mark on her culinary creations, resulting in dishes that reflect the harmony of land and sea.

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Cathy Park Kelly

Cathy is a qualified English teacher with an Honours in Applied Linguistics. She has worked with people from all walks of life, from teenagers and inner city artists to business executives and prisoners. Her first book, Inside Outside, is a memoir of teaching juvenile offenders awaiting trial. She has had non-fiction essays and short stories published in several South African magazines and anthologies. Her second memoir, Boiling a Frog Slowly, was published by Karavan Press and made the longlist for the Sunday Times Literary Awards 2022. Cathy loves how stories can crack open doors and offer seams of light in the dark.

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David Eastment

David is more of a fully qualified Dad rather than an accomplished author. He embarked on this, his first authored project during Covid, after being encouraged by his family to put his experiences down on paper. David started his career in the financial sector and then branched out on other entrepreneurial directions, including his own businesses in construction, management consulting, restaurateur, retail outlets and as a marriage celebrant. He has a love for family, for life in general and the outdoors. His mischievously naughty sense of humour enjoys making up songs, short poems, and ditties on the fly.

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Dorian Haarhoff

Dr Dorian Haarhoff, story-teller, poet, speaker, energiser, wordshop facilitator and mentor, is passionate about developing innate creativity and imagination personally and at work. He believes in the power of words, stories and images to create new realities to bring healing and joy. A former Professor of English Literature in Namibia he also taught in a Canadian Faculty and runs his own business, Creative Wordshops, based on his books. His influences include the literary tradition, mindfulness, whole brain theory, mythology, Jungian and Eco-psychology, creation spirituality, new physics, ubuntu and narrative therapy.

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Elizabeth Rowan

Elize is ‘n Noord-Vrystater en word ‘goed’ groot-gemaak in die kultuur van die tyd. Na ‘n MA graad in Kunsgeskiedenis by UP, waar sy ook die liefde van haar lewe ontmoet, maak sy vier kinders groot. Nou, met genoeg tyd om haar eie drome te verwesenlik behaal sy ‘n Honneurs graad in Sielkunde en voltooi ‘n diploma in Vigs/HIV berading. Met haar lewenslange belangstelling in Jungiaanse droom analise en verdere kunsterapie navorsing word sy ‘n SoulCollage® fasiliteerder. Deelname aan ‘n spiritualiteit en ander droom-ontledings groepe, steeds gesentreerd op die werk van Carl Jung.

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SJ du Toit

SJ du Toit’s has made an enormous contribution to the preservation of the history of the Overberg through personal interviews. SJ published 17 books, many self-published, in her lifetime and was one of the three founders of the Hermanus History Society. She grew up during the war years on a farm in Kleinrivier not far from Hermanus, as one of 13 children. The history of Stanford and later Hermanus became a passion that was to last her whole life. Her two main interests were the history of the Overberg and the impact of bipolar disorder on her own life, with SJ also publishing books about this disorder.

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Irene Below

The books in the library of the South African artist Irma Stern played a major part in her life, deeply influencing her artistic expression. She embellished many of her books with bookplates and covers of her own creation. These were for the first time reproduced, in full colour, together with an in-depth study of this aspect of the artist by the German art historian, Dr Irene Below.  Hidden Treasures Irma Stern was a small print run published in 2000 by the Society of Bibliophiles in Cape Town, an association whose members are interested in book collecting and the arts of the book. It is now a collectors’ item.

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Greg Bertish

Bullied, insecure and dyslexic as a child, Greg believed he would not amount to much. Yet after surviving two cardiac surgeries and 200 days in hospital fighting a tropical bacteria, he sailed an 8 foot children’s dinghy around the Cape of Storms and became National Champion in Lifesaving and Stand-Up Paddle Boarding. He raised R1.3 million for the Red Cross Children’s Hospital and is the founder of the internationally awarded Sharkspotter Program and The Little Optimist Trust. Greg has partnered with the Laureus Foundation and Paris Olympics 2024, and opened the first Sailing Therapy Academy in Cape Town.

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Herman Veitch

Herman holds a master’s degree in Psychology and is an experienced Leadership, and Life coach and was certified with the International Coaching Federations. He lectures in Knowledge management at Syracuse University and in Sports Psychology at the Central University of Technology in the Free State, and sat on the research portal of the International Coaching Federation. He was Vice-President of the Bloemfontein Chamber of Commerce and Industry and part of the management team of the Black Managers Forum in Bloemfontein. He was a member of Toastmasters and sits in a Mankind Project circle. He grew up in Africa and lived in Belgium and USA.

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Hugh Gurnell

 Hugh was born in Springs, South Africa and educated in boarding schools in Swaziland and Northern Natal. He later went into mining management in Welkom and Northern Rhodesia, before joining 5 Commando in Salsbury. They were formed into Commando’s of forty men and flown to Bukavu in Kivu Province with instructions to repel the Simba rebel army and then repel them from the area and towns they controlled: A tall order, as his book describes. Hugh then became a mercenary in the Congo. Hugh’s book tells of these wartime experiences. He is now retired and living in Gordons Bay in the Western Cape.

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Jacqui Burnett

Jacqui Burnett is an adventurer, both in journeys of the spirit and in the world of financial strategy, which has enabled her to help numerous businesses achieve their strategic and financial goals. Jacqui has always pursued a parallel interest in spirituality, which guided her into her writing, podcasting, speaking, and workshop-facilitating careers. Jacqui created a platform called The Dare to Be Love Journey where she shares her inspirational insights from the Universal Wisdom and her personal stories of trauma and healing from depression, PTSD, suicide ideation, anxiety, chronic fibromyalgia and migraines. Life’s Not Yoga …or is it? is Jacqui’s first published book.

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Janet Bytheway

Janet Bytheway is a clinical psychologist, play therapist and narrative therapist who loves stories and helping children and grown-ups figure out their feelings and problems. She graduated with a Master’s Degree in Clinical psychology and in 1995 co-founded the Blaauwberg Therapy Centre, a multidisciplinary centre for  medical and allied professionals. Her practice is known for working holistically and collaboratively and she has a special interest in working with families in distress. Janet is passionate about the stories that people tell themselves and others about their lives and the healing power of play.

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The Unknown Author

The Unknown Author is the equivalent of the unknown soldier. Someone out there has written a book, lost faith in it, and buried it in a tomb that has been washed with tears, thinking there is no hope of publication. This unknown author might have tried in vain to find a formal publisher, or might not have found enough validation of their writing to have the courage to continue. Alternatively this unknown author thinks that to self publish they need to do a print run of 100’s of books they can’t afford. These days you can print one and sell it print on demand. So please learn to validate yourself and let’s see you at next year’s festival.

Start getting your book ready now!

Leila Summers

Leila Summers is an author, editor, and book coach specialising in publishing and book promotion with a love for all things creative and human. She specialises in the writing, editing, publishing, and promotion of books and has been working with authors from around the world for over ten years. Leila is also a trained Heal Your Life® teacher with a keen interest in the mind-body connection. Leila lives in the Overberg with her two foster children and animal friends. Coco the Mooing Horse, who had dreams of becoming a star, is the first children’s picture book in the Humorous Healing Anagrams series.

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Leslie Downie

Leslie, founder of the Fringe Fireside Chats festival, spent most of her career as a lawyer, self-publishing two collaborative books on the side, as well as Pro-poor Legal Practice with Juta. In Men of Letters: from me to you Leslie Downie writes contemporary letters to ten male friends, ranging from Mark Peters (the first to snap Mandela released from prison) to Mervyn Stutter, a satirical songwriter and comedian, better known as The King of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Dead Letter is a murder mystery written collaboratively with seven women. Both books describe how they wrote, with practical advice for your own writing.

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Louise Chiat

Louise Chiat is an Integral Career Coach and Enneagram Practitioner who previously worked in the corporate world. Her book invites readers to embark on a reflective, spiritual, and inspiring journey alongside her to explore the everyday dilemmas faced by her clients, family and friends as they learn to engage all three aspects of their being head, heart, and body when making important decisions. Readers are guided through a series of real-life scenarios, empowering readers to approach their own challenges with a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them.

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Madine Swart

Madine Swart is ʼn sielkundige met ʼn belangstelling in die emosionele waardes wat plante vir mense het, veral gekompliseerde rouprosesse en aanpassing tydens oorgangstye. Sy stel veral belang in die plante wat in rituele vir die dood gebruik word, en die emosionele waardes wat hierdie plante vir mense het. Daar is ʼn ryk inheemse kennis wat daarop dui dat die bande met geliefdes nie noodwendig deur die dood verbreek hoef te word nie. Dit is hierdie tradisies  en die magiese gebruike van ons inheemse plante wat sy graag wil opteken sodat dit vir mense vertroosting kan bied tydens tydperke van vermisting. 

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Maureen Girdlestone

Maureen lives high on the back slopes of Table Mountain. Now widowed, with three adult sons, she runs Waterfront Charters in the V&A Waterfront, while dabbling as a freelance travel journalist in her non-existent spare time. The Sailor’s Wife is based on a true story and is her debut novel. Her husband Nelson, a descendant of the famous Admiral of Trafalgar had his treasured yacht, which he built himself over many years, stolen from the Royal Cape Yacht Club in Cape Town. Maureen’s book is filled with the drama of a crazy but true worldwide search to find Alter Ego, the yacht which truly was Nelson’s other self. Nelson’s dreamboat is finally found in this heartwarming tale.      

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Melanie Williss

Melanie has extensive experience in education and in the publishing industry. She enjoys crafting with words, interweaving mother tongue with foreign language phrases and musicality. Her writing is rooted in keen observation and her style is informed, refreshing, and challenging. Melanie lived in London for a number of years before returning to Cape Town, her hometown. She is active in the performing arts, especially classical singing and fine art. Her early years were invested in classical dance, hiking, paragliding, scuba diving and motorcycling. Melanie is now a dedicated student of Tai Chi Chuan and the internal art of Qigong.

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Michèle van Niekerk

When paediatrician Michèle van Niekerk lets her hair down and collates esoteric musings, vignettes and reflective short poems, it results in an eclectic mix for a select ‘tribe’. Her medical practice is in the growing fields of neurodiversity and the untapped potential in so many neurodivergent youngsters. What might initially present as learning challenges – or a fractious relationship with words, peers or parents – might ultimately translate into architectural masterpieces, or dyslexic, imaginative journals may morph into other-worldly movies, games and stories or innovative achievements, not unlike those of specific geniuses of yesteryear.

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Owen Dean

Professor Owen Dean is an attorney specialising in copyright law, and  High Court litigation. He holds a doctorate from Stellenbosch University where he established a Chair of Intellectual Property Law. He is the author of several legal treatises, a text book on copyright law and principal editor of a handbook on intellectual property law. He has been a frequent conference presenter both internationally and nationally. He authored Awakening the Lion about a famous copyright court case in which he acted for the composer of the music from which the epic song The Lion Sleeps Tonight was derived – now a Netflix documentary.

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Renette Vosloo

TV chef Renette kook al vandat sy 10 jaar oud is. Skryf kom net so lank al saam met haar. Renette het Tukkies toe gegaan ná matriek in die vroeë tagtigs en ‘n BA-met Staatswetenskappe agter haar naam gaan skryf.

Kos was egter ‘n goue draad dwarsdeur haar lewe, as student, as jong moeder en tot hier waar sy nou as weduwee die pad alleen aandurf. Alles wat ‘n kranige kok van kos en fynkos moet weet, het sy oor die jare seker gemaak sy kom te wete en kry onder die knie. Woorde en kos is prentjies wat vir Renette help om sin te maak van lief en leed en waarmee sy graag ook raad en daad deel.

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Roger Chennells

Roger has a BCom from Stellenbosch, a Masters from the London School of Economics and a PhD from Lancashire University. He has run his legal practice, Chennells Albertyn, from Stellenbosch since 1980. specialising in labour law, land and environmental law, intellectual property for tradiitional knowledge, and human rights law, with an overall emphasis on rural and indigenous communities. His primary interest is the customs, values and lore of traditional communities and a respectful honouring of the earth, a theme captured by the environmental philosophy which is known as Earth Jurisprudence. 

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Sarah Prince

Sarah moved her family from America to South Africa, expecting a life of adventure and uplifting others. Motherhood was not her first place of calling, and the entire family dove into work to help and mentor others. It was only when her son was diagnosed with autism that she really began to find her true purpose. Sarah’s family moved to work in a South African township to jump into development work and –  instead finding those around them their great source of life and support – the depths of grief and doubt over her son’s diagnosis led to profound transformation and awakening, both for Sarah and her son.

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Shiloh Noone

Cape Talk Radio presenter  Shiloh will be entertaining the audience with personal encounters with the likes of Van Morrison, Ginger Baker, Leonard Cohen, Kurt Cobain, Sting, Brad Pitt and many more. Shiloh’s music career started with a small record shop, Sigma Records in the Circle Center, Somerset West. Years of presenting radio shows on Pirate Radio stations culminated in Seekers Guide To The Rhythm of Yesteryear with 4 star Rolling Stone and London Record Collector reviews. Shiloh spent 20 years at Fine Music Radio with his legendary Folk music Songcatcher and now presents the Magic Bus on Cape Talk radio. 

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Stefan Schutte

A Cape Town-based accountant in the financial industry, Stefan was raised on a diet of sport and music. Longlisted for the Australian Writers’ Centre’s Furious Fiction Contest, his journey as a fiction writer began when he attended a meeting of the West Coast Writers’ Circle. Inspired by a broken man he had observed in a bar, Stefan developed a short story titled The Patron, which received recognition and became the foundation for the main character in The Last Jukebox Heroes. Stefan’s literary work showcases hard-hitting narrative writing mixed with a good dose of subjectivity and an inescapable soundtrack of jukebox classics.

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Steve Chadwick

Steve has made over 150 first ascents on rock and ice and of three arctic mountains. Steve was the leader of the 1973 East Greenland Expedition which made the first ascent of the 2,000m south-east face of Ingolfsjeld, which remains unrepeated. He was a member of a Scottish Highlands Mountain Rescue team for 15 years and hike master of the Gantouw hike club from 2018 to 2020. Along the way he developed a fascination for the history and trails of local mountains and his book is the result of 8 years of careful research. He has also written a book on  Loch Ewe in WWII – the gathering place for ships about to make the dangerous convoy journey to Russia.

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Theresa van Ede

Through a wide variety of life experiences, like childhood sexual and emotional abuse, bullying, failed relationships, mental health issues, and trust issues, Theresa’s book takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotions. It proves that everyone has the power to claim back their lives, to stand up for themselves, and live their best lives. Her aim is to tell her life stories and inspire others to make the necessary changes in their own lives, to live their lives to the fullest, and to accept themselves for the beautiful, strong, and powerful people they are. Theresa believes she had to go through the things she went through so she could share how she overcame them.

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Next year's writers

Fringe Fireside Chats can’t wait to meet next year’s participants. Are you going to be one of them? Unlike formally organised festivals, fringe festivals accommodate anyone with a desire to participate who can find a venue willing to host them. They start out on a shoestring, relying on creativity, imagination and an entrepreneurial spirit. Fringe festivals are non-traditional and support emerging independent artists and those who defy mainstream conventions. Our festival celebrates self-published authors whatever their style or subject. Authors who wish to participate must be prepared to drive feet to their own events. Self-published authors are often unknown. It takes an entrepreneurial spirit and a willingness to experiment. We are not moved by the success of large numbers of readers: We respect writers game enough to risk trying.

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