WRITER’S DISCUSSIONS

Joha van Dyk's tips on being a WOW writer

by Tanweer Mohamed
Production: WOW Writer’s Discussion: Grade 7–10
Photos: Provided

On 12 October 2023 Joha van Dyk addressed Grade 7–10 learners in the Stellenbosch University Library Auditorium in the latest edition of WOW Writer’s Discussions.

Over 100 learners from JJ Rhode Primary, Weber Gedenk Primary, Lückhoff High, New Orleans Secondary and Stellenzicht High School attended to listen to her journey as a writer. 

Joha van Dyk is an author who is currently working on her Ph.D. in English while tutoring part-time. 

Van Dyk traces her journey as a writer to a Grade 2 oral where she was required to speak about one of her talents. Given her apparent lack of singing and dancing ability, Van Dyk was adamant to develop some kind of talent. 

Thus, gone were the days of using her brother’s PC to play Sims!

Instead she opted to use it to start writing.  

Since then, she’s found inspiration from Spoegwolf’s music, Koos Kombuis’ poetry, Hop-On Hop-Off red bus tours all the while developing a love for the Afrikaans language. Developing that love was important for Van Dyk because growing up, she was underwhelmed by Afrikaans literature and the brevity of Afrikaans novels frustrated her even further. 

It comes as no surprise therefore that her core motivation as a writer is to write books that teenagers can sink their teeth into, but also enjoy.

While recognising that all writers are unique, van Dyk also offered the following general tips that anybody can use to become a better writer:

  1. Write everything 
  2. Read. A lot!
  3. Begin
  4. Find inspiration on Pinterest, Spotify or TikTok when your imagination falters
  5. Plan your work.

 

At the end of Van Dyk’s presentation learners were afforded an opportunity to ask her questions. From “What’s your life motto?” to “What keeps you going even when things get tough?” to “Can you see yourself in your characters?”, it was refreshing to see the learners excited to talk about reading and writing.

 

  • Joha van Dyk has published three novels in a five-part series: Branderjaer, Vuurvreter and Kanniedood. Common themes in her writing include peer pressure, identity and substance abuse. The novels can be purchased in local bookshops as well as online through Takealot and Amazon.
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