Each year, as winter descends on the Western Cape, Franschhoek offers every aspiring writer, book aficionado and critical reader a glimpse into life as a scribe. This time around is no different, as from 16–18 May, the petites Parisian-esque cafés of the small town fill up with very serious professional penners who sip, very seriously, on black Americanos (oh, who are we kidding? Bottles of Pinot, more like) and discuss the very serious effect of the political landscape on the written word with other literary luminaries. Very seriously, it’s one of the best weekends you can hope to have in this magical area of the Cape Winelands. Equal measures of luxury (if you’ve managed to secure accommodation in time); critical discussion, as offered by the festival’s celebrated speakers; and superior sipping courtesy of one of South Africa’s best vineyards, mean a wintery weekend getaway to Franschhoek will be a trip to remember. This year the festival programme (including over 200 authors, critics and teachers) doesn’t disappoint, with international highlight Thomas Keneally, the Booker Prize-winning author of Schindler’s List; lauded Amsterdam-based storyteller Richard de Nooy; local darling Lauren Beukes, who returns for what we’re sure will be four packed talks; up-and-comer (and Beukes protégé) Charlie Human; controversial motivational speaker and co-author of Real Meal Revolution Tim Noakes; top local columnist Darrel Bristow-Bovey (who has made a spectacular return from Purgatory); and, a highlight for those who hoped to see her last year, Redi Tlhabi, who will present talks Friday to Sunday. Check out the full programme at flf.co.za and book your tickets here.