Creative Writing Workshop in the beautiful Eastern Free State.


25–30 January 2019

Come to Rosendal. Learn about writing from Bronwyn Law-Viljoen – author, publisher and Head of Creative Writing at Wits University.

Enjoy the legendary hospitality of The Talking Table.

Crown this summer with five days of creativity, learning and great company in a breathtaking hamlet. All stay in chalets of a boutique country hotel where breakfast is served daily as well as a lavish long-table meal each day.
Your presenter, Professor Bronwyn Law-Viljoen, has two PhDs, one of which is in creative writing, the subject she also teaches at Wits University. Her approach is practical and playful. See the full programme below.

The Talking Table is based on the Greek island of Lesbos where owners Frederik de Jager and Douw Steyn host creative workshops for guests who stay and work together and enjoy lingering meals where good conversation is top of the menu.

What participants said of creative writing workshops at The Talking Table

“A wonderful experience.”
“An unforgettable opportunity.”
“An abundance of fostering.”
“People, a warmth, a magananimousness.”
“I feel enthused and fulfilled.”


Friday 25 January: Arrive on your own time (but in time for dinner).

Saturday 26 January

  • Beginning: free writing, automatic writing, ludic writing and other playful ways of beginning the seminar
  • Discussion of the writing projects that each person is working on or proposing
  • Reading, writing, discussion: response to the short story circulated at the start of the retreat with a focus on the arc of the story, character development, point of view
  • Cue: a short cue for a writing exercise that participants will bring to the seminar on day two.
Sunday 27 January
  • Beginning: a little more play before we get ahead of ourselves
  • Reading and discussion of the short writing project done the previous day
  • Discussion: Voice, character, story
  • Cue: further work on the writing piece done on day one
Monday 28 January
  • Flash fiction: discussion of flash fiction with an extended flash fiction exercise.
Tuesday 29 January
  • Feedback on the flash fiction: reading, discussion, editing, rewriting.
Wednesday 30 January
  • Beginning: A little more ludic writing before we depart
  • Reading, discussion: of the reworked flash
  • End: feedback, farewell.
Bronwyn Law-Viljoen is Associate Professor and Head of Creative Writing at the University of the Witwatersrand, editor and co-founder of Fourthwall Books, and former editor of Art South Africa magazine. She has a PhD in Literature from New York University and a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of the Witwatersrand. She has contributed to and edited many books on art, design and architecture in South Africa and has written essays on South African art and photography for magazines, journals, newspapers and books both locally and internationally. Her short stories have appeared in the journals New Contrast and Aerodrome. Her first novel, The Printmaker, was published in 2016 (Umuzi) and shortlisted for the Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Award. She is currently at work on her second novel, which is set in New York, Johannesburg and the Eastern Cape.


Rosendal hotel

Participants stay in private ensuite chalets in the quiet gardens of De Tuinen, a boutique country lodge on the edge of the village. This is also where the workshop will happen. The broad varandah with its comfortable couches makes for a perfect country retreat.


Benjamins Rosendal

Rosendal, halfway between Senekal and Ficksburg in the Eastern Free State, is that province’s best kept secret. This pastoral hamlet, untouched by the uglier side of progress, is home to farmers, workers, retirees, artists and people who have left the city for rural peace and quiet. Its wide, tree-lined boulevards and dirt streets form an expansive village grid where sandstone homes stand far apart with grassy spaces and colourful gardens in-between. Set among the ocre sandstone hills so typical of this province, Rosendal is a haven of rural peace and beauty.
The nearest airports to Rosendal are Bloemfontein (2 hours) and Johannesburg (3.5 hours).

The Talking Table

The Talking Table is an idea made reality: a place where people stay, eat and talk together. Owners Frederik de Jager and Douw Steyn each left their corporate professional lives behind (Frederik as Publishing Director at Penguin Books and Douw as CEO of Media24 Africa) and in 2017 opened, in an old manor house on the Greek Island of Lesbos, a space where numerous people have been welcomed and given a safe space where their creativity could flourish at workshops in writing, painting, photography, illustration and other disciplines. Rosendal will be the second Talking Table in South Africa, and in 2019 for the first time there will also be a writing workshop in Australia.

To book:

There are only 9 places. To secure your place write to without delay.
  • R13 600 per single person or R12 200 per person sharing.
  • Fees include course fee, accommodation, breakfast and a long-table meal each day.