Writing Workshop and a week’s holiday on beautiful Kangaroo Island, Australia.

Eben swart Lynda G

11–18 March 2019 with star author Eben Venter and veteran editor Lynda Gilfillan

The Talking Table, host of many memorable workshops on the Greek island of Lesbos, brings to this south Australian island its unique flair for nurturing creative expression.
The workshop will be conducted in English, but if you write in Afrikaans, that’s OK.
After a morning of creative collaboration, you will be free each day to enjoy the pristine beach at Emu Bay, and other island holiday pleasures.


Eben Venter

Eben Venter grew up on an Eastern Cape farm. He studied and taught philosophy in Johannesburg and has lectured in literature at universities in Kyoto and Amsterdam, as well as at the University of Queensland, where he is currently completing a PhD in Creative Writing. Eben was a writer-in-residence at both the Dutch Institute for Advanced Study and at Rhodes University in South Africa. In an earlier life he worked as a journalist in Johannesburg and as a chef in Australia, but his real claim to fame is as a writer. He has written two volumes of short stories and nine novels, several of which have been translated into English, Dutch and German. He is also the recipient of numerous literary awards. He wrote his latest novel, Green as the Sky Above, in English and then translated it into Afrikaans. Eben has been in Australia since 1996, and currently lives in Lismore, New South Wales.

Lynda Gilfillan

Lynda Gilfillan’s wanderings have enabled her to call Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape, and the Western Cape home. And now Australia is added to the list: for the past five years, she has lived in Brisbane, Queensland. The thread that has run through this roving life is reading: her DLitt covers autobiographical writing, she lectured at the University of Pretoria, and after a swerve to the Karoo, she took up editing, a creative/collaborative activity that has absorbed her ever since. She was also a book reviewer for Fine Music Radio, and a regular moderator and panellist at Cape book festivals.


Monday 11 March

The Notebook, how to write and use it (Eben) Short assignment(s) and discussion.

Tuesday 12 March

The Story of the Family – writing about mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers (Eben)
Assignment and discussion

Wednesday 13 March

How do I write about an erotic experience? (Eben)
Assignment and discussion

Thursday 14 March

Setting and the self – the land and landscape, with specific reference to Tim Winton (Lynda)
Reading: Land’s Edge, Island Home, The Boy behind the Curtain (three memoirs by Tim Winton); Talking to My Country by Stan Grant Assignment and discussion

Friday 15 March

Life writing and the search for home: two South African-Australian writers (Lynda) Reading: JM Coetzee: Youth; Sisonke Msimang, Always another Country: A Memoir of Exile and Home Assignment and discussion

Saturday 16 March

The editing process – rearranging the furniture, tidying up, and pruning (Lynda)
Assignment and discussion

Sunday 17 March

Summary of material and ideas from discussions (Lynda & Eben)
List of essential reading material (relating to talks) and discussion (Lynda & Eben)
Some pointers on dealing with publishers and publishing (Frederik)

Kangaroo Island and Emu Bay

Emu Bay beach
Kangaroo Island lies in South Australia, south west of Adelaide. It has a permanent population of five thousand people, and hosts a considerable number of tourists. Emu Bay, where the workshop will be held, is on the sheltered north coast of the island, some twenty kilometres from Kingscote, the island’s biggest town. Guests will be accommodated in houses and cottages at Emu Bay Holiday Homes (click on the link), five minutes’ walk from a magnificent four-kilometre stretch of white sandy beach. With koalas curled up in the trees and kangaroos hopping about, this is a truly Australian paradise. Have a look by clicking on this link. A regular ferry runs from the mainland, and there is also an airport.

The Talking Table

The Talking Table is a place where people stay, eat and talk together. It was founded in the village of Molyvos on the Greek island of Lesbos by two South Africans. Over the two years of its existence, TTT has hosted workshops on a wide variety of disciplines: writing, art, illustration, photography, philosophy, nature, and Greek cooking. TTT is an idea as much as a place, and there have also been workshops in South Africa and now, for the first time, in Australia. The Talking Table is about self-expression and sharing: pleasure, good food and excellent conversation.


Emu bay house

Included in the fee are seven days of tutoring and guidance, accommodation, breakfast, a long-table meal each day, and transfers from the ferry port and airport.
  • Single room:A$2 750
  • Twin room: A$2 400 pp sharing.


Bookings close on 31 December 2018. For more information and to make a booking, please contact us at info@thetalkingtable.com.