Press release: Open Book Festival 2021 returns with new podcast series

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Open Book Festival's new podcast series starts on 8 November with Conversations with Mohale featuring Mohale Mashigo in conversation with Shana Fife, Pumla Gqola and Siphokazi Jonas about women in lockdown. Picture of Pumla Gqola: provided.

Open Book Festival returns with an eight part podcast series celebrating just some of the works of literature to come out of SA this year. The series will run from 8–24 November 2021.

As was the case in 2020, planning the festival in 2021 came with a set of shifting goalposts, and so the decision was made to err on the side of caution and stay in the virtual space.

Vasti Calitz, Festival Organiser says: "Over the years, Open Book has evolved into a space that was inclusive and exciting, and which allowed for difficult conversations to take place safely. That face to face platform can't be replaced, but the podcast series allows listeners to engage with the books and ideas in their own time and free of charge."

All the participants in the 2021 festival are either South African or South Africa based, a deliberate choice made by the festival team. Given the impact the pandemic has had on writers' abilities to promote their new books and to drive sales, it felt important that all efforts be focused on the local literary landscape. Copies of all the books will be available for sale through the Book Lounge.

The participants this year include Mia Aderne, Efemia Chela, Shana Fife, Madeleine Fullard, Damon Galgut, Pumla Gqola, Robert Hamblin, Gretchen Haley, Siphokazi Jonas, Joanne Joseph, Ashraf Kagee, Bongani Kona, , Mandla Langa, Qarnita Loxton, Naledi Mashishi, Mohale Mashigo,, Tshidiso Moletsane, Nick Mulgrew, Thenjiwe Mswane, Tiffany Mugo, Mphuthumi Ntabeni, Futhi Ntshingila, Yewande Omotoso, and Uvile Ximba. The facilitators of the conversations include Catherine Boulle, Africa Melane, Mohale Mashigo, Chase Rhys, and Koketso Sachane.

The series will kick off with "Conversations with Mohale", an annual conversation at the Open Book Festival that will be familiar to festival-goers.  Mohale Mashigo will be in conversation with Shana Fife, Pumla Gqola and Siphokazi Jonas about women in lockdown.

For the rest of the series, listeners can expect to hear the writers engage on themes that include queerness, grief, gender based violence, love and so much more. This is a series you won't want to miss.

The podcast series is made possible by the generous support of the Heinrich Boell Foundation, as well as the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture.

Connect with Open Book on the following platforms:

Spotify:, or search Open Book Podcast

FB: @openbookfestival


Twitter: @openbookfest


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