Gordimer withdraws from Woordfees

2012-02-02 11:10
Elmari Rautenbach
Cape Town - Nobel prize winner Nadine Gordimer, who was to be honoured at this year's US Woordfees with a profile presentation as part of the authors programme, has cancelled her performances by fax from her publisher on Monday.

The Woordfees organisers sent an invitation to her last year on July 28, which she accepted.

Gordimer's publisher, Terry Morris from Pan MacMillan, wrote in her letter that the publication of Gordimer's book, No Time Like the Present, was brought forward. They are now working closely with her British publisher and the author was therefore requested to fly to London on March 10 - a few days after her Woordfees performances - for publicity for her book. They decided however, in consultation with Gordimer, that two such events would be too stressful. Gordimer turns 88 this year.

The publishers have added that if the US Woordfees should happen again next year, Pan MacMillan will do its best to ensure that Gordimer attends.

Veteran writers

"It is a great disappointment to the US Woordfees that a writer of Nadine Gordimer's stature thought it well to let us know at such a late stage, six months after she agreed to come, that it's not happening anymore," Woordfees director Dorothea van Zyl said.

"We also feel very sorry for people like Mongane Wally Serote and other writers, for whom this was a very special opportunity to perform with her, but one still wishes her the best for her visit to England."

The poet and author Wally Serote Mongane was scheduled to perform at the profile opportunity for Gordimer, and the guitar duo CH2 would've performed at the prestigious event. In addition to the profile event on March 6, Gordimer would've delivered a reading on March 7 together with Serote, Gabeba Baderoon and Rustum Kozain.

Kozain said on Wednesday that writers like Nadine Gordimer and Serote Wally are household names, and he especially looked forward to hearing these two veteran writers in conversation with younger voices. "It would have been special."

The organisers are considering to continue with the group opportunity despite Gordimer's absence.

Notifications on changes in the festival programme will be announced on the festival's website and in the media. Visitors who have already bought tickets for Gordimer's performances, will be contacted by the Woordfees office and fully refunded.