8 Fantastic Writing Masterclasses For You

8 Fantastic Writing Masterclasses For You


If you’re looking for some writing help and inspiration, Jacana Media has eight fantastic writing masterclasses for you.

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Publishing, Writing, & Other Forms Of Insanity

From 2 December until 15 December 2020, independent South African publishing house, Jacana Media’s Don’t Shut Up Jacana Masterclasses will offer a series of eight 2-hour seminars for interested readers, practicing writers, and publishers longing for a fresh take.

Jacana Master Classes

Jacana has signed up the best facilitators to deliver well-constructed, thought-provoking, and decidedly helpful masterclasses.

8 Fantastic Writing Masterclasses For You

Week One


1. The Art and Practice of Poetry

On Wednesday, 2 December they will host Part 1 of The Art and Practice of Poetry. This Masterclass, will take place over two consecutive Wednesdays.

South African poet and literary critic Sandile Ngidi will present a seminar on poetry as a lived experience and craft. For those keen to enhance their grasp of poetry, you will learn how to make pain and anger speak, laugh and dance itself away, how to draw notes from your work, how to elevate everyday observations into poetic conversation points.

You will be expected to write a poem during the week which may be chosen for anonymous evaluation in the second group session which will take place on Wednesday, 9 December.

Session 1: 2 December, 16.00–17.15 SAST
Session 2: 9 December, 16.00–16.45 SAST

Who should attend?

Those who are keen to enhance their grasp of poetry as lived experience and craft. Songwriters who sense that something is lacking in the quality of their lyrics. Those who feel strongly about a personal loss or moment of uncertainty that they believe poetry would be a possible outlet. Those who are excited to discover “new” linguistic worlds through translation from other languages (Zulu in this case). Those who are willing to have their work anonymously evaluated online. Poets who are open minded and keen to learn from a wide range of other poets.

How much? R250


2. The Delicate Art of the Short Story

Thursday, 3 December is the date to meet with Rémy Ngamije.

Rémy is a Rwandan-born Namibian writer and photographer.

His debut novel The Eternal Audience Of One published by Blackbird Books in South Africa and is forthcoming from Scout Press (S&S). He is the editor-in-chief of Doek!, Namibia’s first literary magazine. His short stories have appeared in Litro Magazine, AFREADA, The Johannesburg Review of Books, The Amistad, The Kalahari Review, American Chordata, Doek!, Azure, Sultan’s Seal, Santa Ana River Review, Columbia Journal, New Contrast, Necessary Fiction, Silver Pinion, and Lolwe. He has been longlisted for the 2020 Afritondo Short Story Prize and shortlisted for Best Original Fiction by Stack Magazines in 2019.

Sign up for real insights into story, shape, character, opening lines, and what to do with your stories once they are written. Rémy will entertain you, open your minds, and you will leave this class stimulated, empowered and ready to write the world.

Thursday, 3 December 16.00-18.00 SAST

Who should attend?

Aspiring and emerging short story writers working in all genres who are interested in writing short stories for submissions, competitions, and short story collections. Short story writers who are editing their drafts or compiling their short story collections. Novelists who seek to transition to the short form.

How much? R250


3. So you want to find an Agent? And why? 

What do writers Efemia Chela, Imraan Coovadia, z p dala, Ayesha Harruna Attah, Kopano Matlwa, Thando Mgqolozana, Irene Muchemi-Ndirita, Fiston Mwanza Mujila, Hope Netshivhambe, Masande Ntshanga, Megan Ross, and Minna Salami have in common?

They are all represented by The Pontas Agency, founded by Anna Soler-Pont, who is with us on Saturday, 5 December. Come and strut your stuff, and find out just what agents look for, what they do, how they do it, and why writers are better with one than without.

Anna, from an interview in Publishing Perspectives on the 25th anniversary of Pontas:

‘I’m proud of the success of the authors we represent and of providing good international service to our clients so they can devote their lives to writing. I’m also proud of having succeeded in the most challenging journey of all: going from a personal and self-made project to a professional and profitable business without losing passion or the will to learn every day.’

Saturday, 5 December 10.00-12.00 SAST

Who should attend?

Aspiring and/or emerging writers who are keen to get their work published. Writers who have completed a novel but are unsure of how to submit or whom to submit to.

How much? R250


Week Two

The second week of Masterclasses kicks off with two seminars in Jacana’s The How of Publishing series. They are quite different, yet equally fascinating talks introducing non-traditional publishing models.

From that fine beginning. we move to hearing representatives from four different publishing houses share secrets on How to Get Published – pretty well anywhere. For those looking to do-it-themselves, known as self-publishing, head of Staging Post, Aimee Armstrong, will take you step by step through the different models available.


4. The How of Publishing 1

Jacana hosts The How of Publishing, where you will have a chance to meet John Oakes from New York publishing firm OR Books.

Founded in 2009 by John and Colin Robinson, it was designed to bypass booksellers, using print-on-demand technology to print for purchased copies, and their mailing list to sell books direct to customers. What has changed since then, and why, and do ebooks play a role in the ongoing success of OR Books?

Monday 7 December 16.00–17.00 SAST

Who should attend?

Students of publishing, authors interested in what makes publishing work, anybody working for a publishing house who wants to expand their understanding, as well as those who dream of setting up their own publishing house.

How much? FREE


5. The How of Publishing 2

In the second seminar on The How of Publishing, Jacana hosts Vijay Prashad, author, director of Tricontinental Institute for Social Research, chief editor of Leftword Books and chief correspondent at Globetrotter.

A man of great enthusiasm and very many talents (Vijay might actually be a set of half a dozen identical clones) he will share a publishing model which projects the interests of the working people and movements for social transformation, and how they link the sales model with innovative ways to sell directly to those markets.

What LeftWord does differently is to shape the extents of the books and their packaging to encourage bulk sales for their target audience.

Tuesday 8 December 16.00–17.00 SAST

Who should attend?

Students of publishing, authors interested in what makes publishing work, anybody working for a publishing house who wants to expand their understanding, as well as those who dream of setting up their own publishing house.

How much? FREE


6. How to Get Published

Thursday, 10 December will bring together a collegiality of publishers to look at How to Get Published – pretty well anywhere. Four publishing houses come together:

  1. Sibongile Machika of Pan Macmillan
  2. Colleen Higgs of Modjaji Books
  3. Phehello Mofokeng of Geko Books
  4. Carol Broomhall of Jacana Media

They will share their golden rules, and look at their differences and distinctivenesses.

The seminar will be led by Bridget Impey from Jacana.

Thursday 10 December 16.00–18.30 SAST

Who should attend?

Anyone, anywhere, dreaming of getting published one day. Students of publishing. This seminar would increase the understanding of the publishing scene in South Africa to publishers and authors from any country in Africa and beyond.

How much? R250


7. The How-to-Self-Publish Guide

Saturday brings us The How-to-Self-Publish Guide for those looking to do it for themselves, but who are too nervous to ask how it works.

Aimee Armstrong, who heads up Jacana’s self-publishing division, Staging Post, will explain all the detail, starting with an overview of the different self-publishing models out there, the costs involved, advantages and disadvantages, as well as success tips.

Second, the class will look at the publishing process itself, from editing to the basics of distribution and marketing. After this Masterclass, you will be armed with the knowledge to confidently take the next steps towards publishing your book.

Saturday, 12 December 10.00–12.00 SAST

Who should attend?

Aspiring writers looking at different publishing options/models, established writers interested in self-publishing future books. Writers who are ready to self-publish but want to know more about the process.

How much? R250


Week Three

In the final Masterclass of this year the charming and inimitable Frankie Chike Edozien will introduce you to the Art of the Memoir.


8. The Art of the Memoir

Just before South Africa begins its lock-down holiday break, we bring you The Art of the Memoir presented by Chike Frankie Edozien, award-winning author of The Lives of Great Men, a Memoir.

‘… an incredibly powerful portrayal of what it means to be a gay Nigerian man. But what makes this book so outstanding is its tender and insightful exploration of all the complicated, unspoken bonds in our most intimate relationships. In prose that is at once engaging and inquisitive, Edozien holds the human heart to light and finds the ways it manages to survive despite it all.’’, Maaza Mengiste, Booker shortlisted author of The Shadow King

Everyone has a story they want to tell, but a memoir isn’t simply talking about yourself; it’s about sharing universal truths with a unique narrative that resonates with your reader. Why is your story special? How can you connect with an audience in a saturated industry?

In this Masterclass, Chike will take you through the steps and give you all the necessary tools to create your own proposal – he will show you what it means to ‘hold the human heart to light’.

Wednesday, 15 December 16.00–18.00 SAST

Who should attend?

Bursting to tell your story, want to share what you’ve experienced with the wider world? Want to understand what makes a memoir click with the reader? For you, and all those who’ve never even considered memoir writing just remember, It’s not only one of the most exciting inward journeys around but also one of the best-selling genres on the shelves of bookstores, and on the New York Times list of top-sellers.

How much? R250


For any other queries, please be in touch with marketing@jacana.co.za

Jacana Media

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