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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Get ready for the Open Book Festival!

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Tickets for the 2023 edition of the Open Book Festival went on sale on Thursday 10 August, and it promises to be a great gathering that lovers of books and meaningful conversations simply cannot miss.


It will be hosted once again at The Homecoming Centre (HCC) in the Cape Town CBD, on 8, 9 and 10 September.


Convenor of the Open Book Festival Frankie Murrey says they have spent the last few months reading some of the best literature that has come out of this country and the continent this year, to prepare for the conversations for this year’s gathering.


Murrey says there is something for everyone, and some new ideas, at this year’s Festival.


The Festival follows the same format as last year, with several panel discussions taking place in each time slot. These will – for the most part – take place in HCC venues, with a small number of sessions happening in other spaces, including the Book Lounge.


Between the discussions, members of the public will have the opportunity to interact directly with the authors, as well as to get to know some of the people exhibiting at the Marketplace. This public area is where all book sales and signings take place.


In addition to the discussions that form the backbone of the Festival, young readers can look forward to several story time sessions, and lovers of poetry have much to look forward to with a number of poets included in different events.


Murrey says that while the Festival is never themed, the programme always includes events that explore challenges faced by womxn, the LGBTQIA+ community, as well as those that seek to identify potential solutions to issues stemming from patriarchy.


Some highlights of the programme include:


  • Extraordinary Lives: Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis, Sindiwe Magona and Patric Tariq Mellet speak to Firdose Moonda about overcoming the horrendous impact of apartheid.
  • African Cities as Text | Desiring Urbanity in African Literature: Farai Mudzingwa, Wisani Mushwana, and Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah speak to Mapule Mohulatsi about African cities as spaces of reinvention and desire. Brought to you by the African Literary Cities Project.
  • The Banality of Violence: Nechama Brodie, Caryn Dolley, and Morabo Morojele explore the normalisation of pervasive violence in the company of Erin Bates.
  • The future of publishing: In the context of a drastically weaker rand, load-shedding woes, and concerns about representation, Mervyn Sloman talks to Eugene Ashton (JB), Mbali Sikakana (NB), and Karina Szczurek (Karavan) about their thoughts and plans.
  • Queering the Page: Wisani Mushwana, SJ Naudé and Pieter Odendaal speak to Branden Grant about queerness and masculinity.
  • Constructed Identities: Lynsey Ebony Chutel, Thandiwe Ntshinga, and Pieter Odendaal speak to Nadia Sanger about the roots of racial identity in South Africa.
  • African Cities as Text | Cape Town City Stories: Caryn Dolley, Patric Tariq Mellet, and Chase Rhys speak to Barbara Boswell about writing the memories and (sub)cultures of Cape Town. Brought to you by the African Literary Cities Project.
  • Queerness and Cape Town: Zoey Black, Maneo Mohale, and Manila von Teez explore Cape Town’s “queer capital” claims in the company of Lwando Scott.


“Our focus last year was on writers based in South Africa and this time around we are broadening that to include African writers. We’re always excited about the debut writers we can add to the programme, and this year is no different. Audiences have some powerful voices to meet at OBF 2023.”



The full Festival programme can be found at www.openbookfestival.co.za and ticket inquiries can be sent to openbooktickets@gmail.com


Tickets are priced at R50 per session. The Festival offers a discount of 20% on purchases of 5 or more tickets.


ALSO READ: Welcome home, Mapantsula!

Liesl Smit
Liesl Smit
Liesl is the Smile 90.4FM News Manager. She has been at Smile since 2016, with nearly 20 years experience in the radio industry, including reading news, field reporting and producing. In 2008 she won the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award, Western Cape region. liesl@smile904.fm

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