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Feeste | Festivals > Kennisgewings | Notices

The Open Book Literary Festival is here


2011-09-15

One has to wonder whether the Sumerians knew they would be creating a world accessible to the privileged few when they invented writing in the 4th century BC. Organisers of the Open Book Festival think not.

With 150 events over five days involving 100 authors, 25 of which are international writers at several venues throughout Cape Town’s fringe district, the Open Book Festival opens the literary world to all South Africans. It achieves this by ensuring there is something for everyone between the 21 – 25 September...  bookworm or not.

“In fact, it’s going to be a boekjol of epic proportions,” says founder and organiser Mervyn Sloman. “We have tried to be creative with the programme doing our utmost to ensure as broad an appeal as possible.

Open Book is on the point of concluding exchange arrangements with two prestigious international literary festivals which will see those festivals bringing international writers to Open Book 2012 and as excitingly, Open Book taking promising South African writers to those festivals to increase their international exposure. Expect details to be made public before the end of the year.”

Open Book Festival Highlights

An event programme and further information on all the authors and events is available online at openbookfestival.co.za while tickets are available exclusively through Computicket. Open Book Festival highlights include: 

  • An impressive 32 books launches;
  • Five Forthcoming Attractions events where authors read from unpublished works;
  • Three Author Suppers with the likes of Christopher Hope, NoViolet Bulawayo, Lauren Beukes and Paul Harding among others for a reasonable R350 at Trees Restaurant in the Townhouse Hotel;
  • Three Writer Sports events such as Cringe Factor with Sam Wilson, Tom Eaton and Justin Fox amongst others, where the writers are tasked with writing the worst possible opening page to a novel within a dedicated time frame – with the help of the audience of course;
  • The Novel Sounds event where authors will read to music composed specially for this event.

Author Specific Highlights

Continues Sloman, “We’re certain that the Bring your Questions events where attendees are welcome to fire questions at opinion leaders such as Jay Naidoo, Jonathan Jansen and Moeletsi Mbeki, will also be well worth attending.” Other author highlights include:

  • Jane Bussmann is already garnering a lot of attention for the show that she’s going to be performing, Bussmann’s Holiday which details the events covered in the book The Worst Date Ever: Or How it Took a Comedy Writer to Expose Africa’s Secret War – the show is currently scheduled for 20:00 on 22nd and 23rd September at the Fugard Theatre and promises to be a sell-out.
  • Earl Lovelace – a 78 year old author, essayist, journalist, playwright and novelist from Trinidad and recipient of the overall Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book in 1997 for his novel Salt, speaks about his latest novel, Is Just a Movie, which has attracted praise from all quarters, confirming his status as a master storyteller.
  • Paul Harding is involved in several Open Book events. The relative newcomer walked away with the Pulitzer Prize in 2010, for his debut novel, Tinkers, which was also named one of the Hundred Best Novels of 2009.
  • John Crace is a journalist and author. He is well known for his ‘Digested Reads’ column in The Guardian newspaper, a selection of which was published last year as Brideshead Abbreviated. He will be launching his new title, Vertigo: One Football Fan’s Fear of Success at Open Book as well as presenting his digested reads.

“I am extremely proud and grateful names such as Sifiso Mzobe and Cynthia Jele are coming down from upcountry in support,” continues Sloman.

Giving Back the Right Way

The Open Book Festival is designed around three main elements. First, to position South Africa as a world-class literary destination by bringing out international authors. Second, to promote the best of South African writing to both a local and international audience. Third and perhaps most importantly, to make a significant and sustainable impact by instilling a love of literature, reading and books in Cape Town’s children.

“The Open Book Festival is committed to encouraging a love of books and reading to young and old… but especially the young. The Festival has several initiatives underway that run beyond the five days that are designed to have a significant and sustainable impact to local society,” he says.

The initiatives include the likes of a mentoring project that sees 10 students receiving mentorship for the greater part of a year by suitable mentors. The results of the project will be printed in book form in time to be launched at Open Book 2012. Open Book, together with Equal Education, will be handing over a fully stocked and functioning library to Matthew Goniwe Memorial High School in Khayelitsha.

Visit openbook.co.za for more information.