Feel like you have a story inside that needs to be written? Something that’s just on the cusp of becoming a best-seller if you could just find the time and energy to put pen to paper?

Why not take part in a writer’s retreat?

On Saturday 11 March 2017, Thabiso Mahlape, highly acclaimed publisher and founder of Blackbird Books, will be hosting a Writer’s Masterclass at Aquanzi Lodge in Chartwell North, giving a limited number of aspiring writers the opportunity to escape to a place of inspiration while learning first-hand the ins-and-outs of what makes a successful book.

Mahlape, who has published numerous award-winning novels, completed her Bachelor of Information Science in Publishing in 2008 at the University of Pretoria. She began her career working as a publisher for Jacana Media before being asked to head the company’s imprint which came to be called Blackbird Books – a platform for young and emerging black talent designed for the multitude of black stories that exist and need to be told.

Thabiso Mahlape
Thabiso Mahlape

Blackbird Books

Blackbird Books is one of the most sought after publishers in South Africa as it is accessible to all aspiring writers. Under Jacana Media, Mahlape published titles such as the award-winning Endings & Beginings by Redi Thlapi, the ground-breaking My Father My Monster by Mcintosh Polela, and the controversial Memoirs of a Bornfree by Malaika wa Azania, which each address social issues and have had an impact on multiple audiences across South Africa.

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“In my personal capacity, I had reached a ceiling in terms of growth as a publisher,” says Mahlape. “And so, when the challenge of Blackbird Books presented itself, I knew it was exactly the kind of thing that the South African literary space needed.”

She hopes to get enough time to write a book one day, but in the meantime, now 33, she writes for the Sowetan newspaper bi-weekly on Wednesdays, drawing from her own life to examine society, especially the many issues that women need to navigate. She is also a public speaker, speaking on the themes on which she writes, as well as on purpose and following passion … a subject she knows quite intimately after studying engineering and later abandoning it to pursue publishing.

Master class

Of the idea of the master class, Mahlape says, “I receive daily questions over email and on social media from aspiring writers asking for assistance with publishing. The opportunity to participate in a writer’s masterclass gives me a platform to answer those questions.”

The five-hour writer’s masterclass workshop will include lunch and culminate in an engaging Q&A session in which Mahlape will be joined by one of her published authors, to answer questions and offer advice on everything from mentorship to editing and more.

For those interested in taking a piece of Mahlape home with them, a range of Blackbird Books published books will be on sale on the day.

For more information on the Writer’s Masterclass with Thabiso Mahlape email info@qlconsulting.co.za.

Tickets are available through Quicket at R1 000 per person for the full-day workshop.