Literary Festival 2009

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_joanne-gibson-flf-wwp-2009-winner-mg_5408Franschhoek Literary Festival 2009

The Franschhoek Literary Festival Wine Writers’ Award 2009

Collector’s item artwork by renowned artist presented to winner

Joanne Gibson, winner of the Franschhoek Literary Festival 2009 inaugural SA Wine Writer’s Award received a cheque for R25,000.00 and a collector’s item artwork ‘certificate’ at a private function held on Saturday16th May 2009 at Solms-Delta wine estate.

Gibson, deputy editor of WINE magazine, was unanimously declared the wine writer of the year by three prominent international judges for a feature article that appeared in WINE magazine in April 2008, on the classic GS Cabernet 1966, a wine as highly acclaimed as it is controversial. Gibson said: “suffice to say I had to tread lightly while telling this fascinating story.”

The competition was well supported by the country’s most respected wine writers and, as expected, the standard of submissions was extremely high.

“You can be justifiably proud of the standard of journalism in the SA wine industry” said FLF director and renowned author Christopher Hope. “This annual award acknowledges best practice within an area of opinion that can so often be subjective and incur dispute. We feel it is fitting that due recognition be given to this art at the Franschhoek Literary Festival 2008, and we thank Solms-Delta for making it possible.”

Mark Solms, in reply, emphasized that the prize was sponsored not by any one wine estate, nor by the Vignerons de Franschhoek, but rather by the FLF as a whole.

Each year the winner will receive an artwork together with the prize money. This year the ‘certificate’ was an outstanding creation crafted by renowned artist Pippa Skotnes, who perfectly drew together historical threads to reflect the world of wine as we know and enjoy it today.

The certificate, inscribed on antelope bone in a small wooden case, bears quotations drawn from several ancient texts on wine in literature. Describing her work, Skotnes said she had included a bushman etching of a wagon as a reference both to the arrival of viticulture via colonisation “and of course, to being on or off the wagon!” The work also included translations of the|Xam (San) words for ‘to drink’ or ‘come to drink’, and quotations from a poem by Sappho and the myth of the seduction of Semele by Zeus, resulting in the conception of Dionysus and the origin of wine.

Receiving her award, Gibson said she felt deeply honoured to be recognised for a piece that she had so enjoyed writing. What she did not say is that her winning article of the Franschhoek Literary Festival 2009 has since been republished by prominent wine writers in England and America, thus bringing additional honour to the SA wine industry as a whole.

To find out more about the 2010 Franschhoek Literary Festival watch out for news on the Franschhoek Literary Festival’s website at