Be engaged, entertained and inspired – bookings now open for eighth Open Book Festival

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Be prepared to be engaged, inspired and entertained – the programme has been announced and ticket bookings are now open for the eighth Open Book Festival. The Festival takes place from 5 to 9 September and bookings can be made at www.webtickets.co.za.

Brought to you by the Book Lounge and the Fugard Theatre, Open Book Festival offers a world-class selection of book launches, panel discussions, workshops, masterclasses, readings, performances, and more. The festival also hosts the popular Comics Fest, #cocreatePoetica and various children’s and outreach programmes. Venues for the event include the Fugard Theatre, District Six Homecoming Centre, the A4 Arts Foundation, and The Book Lounge in Cape Town, and are all within walking distance of one another. Selected events will also take place outside the city centre, such as at Elsies River Library and Molo Mhlaba School.

“We have put together a programme that we hope will appeal to book lovers of all interests and ages,” says Festival Director Mervyn Sloman. “The stimulating conversations that arise from the panel discussions, both during and after the event, are what make the Festival unique. We are always grateful to the authors who are so generous with their time and to the audience members for their willingness to openly engage in debate.

Nicole Dennis Benn | Photo: Jason Berger

“Thanks to the support of our partners such as the Canada Council of the Arts, the French Institute of South Africa, the Swedish Embassy, the University of Stellenbosch and the Embassy of Argentina, we are able to bring you leading international authors such as Guy Delisle (Hostage), graphic artist duo Icinori, Jonas Bonnier (The Helicopter Heist)Nicole Dennis Benn (Here Comes the Sun) and Mariana Enriquez (Things We Lost in the Fire). Other international guests will include authors such as Aminatta Forna, Lesley Arimah, graphic novelist Mariko Tamaki and Adam Smyer, whose debut novel Knucklehead is a refreshingly honest, fierce and intelligent read. All this, in addition to the more than 100 incredible South African authors that are joining our programme.”

In association with #cocreateSA and the Dutch Consulate General, #cocreatePOETICA hosts a varied programme of readings, performances, discussions and workshops showcasing poetry and the spoken word. Experience the work of Dutch writer, performer and theatre director Babs Gons and musician and songwriter Ivan Words, alongside the cream of South African talent and celebrated spoken word organisations such as InZync, Lingua Franca, Grounding Sessions and Rioters in Session.

Open Book Festival once again teams up with the African Centre for Cities to present a number of events exploring urban issues. Inspired by the collection Feminism Is, South Africans Speak Their Truth, a series of Feminism Is talks will interrogate ideas of feminism, gender, patriarchy, sexual health and ownership of the body.

The Festival has become known for its focus on political and societal topics, and events will include discussions around the 2019 elections, a look at whether our laws hinder or help us and the future of the media.

There’s also a strong recurring theme in the programme around loss, memory and personal transitions. Various events will give us a window into the authors’ worlds of writing and creating characters dealing with death and capturing the author’s own personal changes in their lives.

The fun-filled Writersports is a firm fixture on the Festival calendar and this year challenges writers with their Cringe Factor: Behind every success are 100 embarrassing failures!

The popular Comics Fest takes place on 8 and 9 September with the return of the Monster Battle Draw off, live drawing workshops, discussions and demonstrations, as well as a host of exciting exhibitors in the Comics Fest Marketplace. Don’t miss Dusanka Stojakovic of New Africa Books talking about what she is looking for in order to publish a comic book.

Younger visitors will feel welcomed at the Festival with a range of exciting activities, including storytime at Central Library, origami demo sessions and a workshop for teens to "Create your own character".

Longstanding partners Leopard’s Leap Wines will be hosting their wonderful #WordsforWine. Bring a pre-loved or new book to exchange for a glass of Leopard’s Leap wine. Books will be donated the Open Book Library Project and other charities. They’ll also be announcing the winner of their innovative #MessageonaBottle competition.

Open Book Festival has established itself as one of the most innovative literature festivals in South Africa. It has twice been shortlisted for the London Book Fair Excellence Awards. Last year, nearly 10 000 people attended the festival’s record 140 events, with ticket sales from previous years surpassed in the first two days. Open Book Festival is committed to creating a platform to celebrate South African writers, as well as hosting top international authors. The festival strives to instil a love of reading among young attendees, with the programme designed to create conversations among festivalgoers long after the event.

The eighth Open Book Festival will take place from 5 to 9 September at the Fugard Theatre, D6 Homecoming Centre, The A4 Arts Foundation and The Book Lounge from 10:00 to 21:00 each day.

The 2018 programme is now available at www.openbookfestival.co.za.

Visit the individual author pages on the website for a list of the events in which they are participating.

Bookings can be made at Webtickets www.webtickets.co.za.

Tickets to events range from R45 to R180. There are also a number of free events but tickets must still be booked for these events to secure a place. Day passes (which provide one access ticket to six events per day) are R150 and festival passes (5 day passes with one ticket access to six events per day) cost R600. 

Open Book Festival is organised in partnership with the Fugard Theatre, The District 6 Museum, The A4 Arts Foundation, The Townhouse Hotel,  Novus Holdings, The French Institute of South Africa, The Canada Council for the Arts, The Embassy of Sweden, The Embassy of Argentina, The Dutch Foundation for Literature, UCT Creative Writing Department, University of Stellenbosch English Department and Central Library and is sponsored by Leopards Leap, Open Society Foundation, Pan Macmillan, NB Publishers, Jonathan Ball, The Other Foundation, Spatial Justice in the Postcolony and Penguin Random House.

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