Welcome to the open Book Festival page. Make sure to keep an eye on this page in the coming months, as excitement builds and there are further announcements in the lead-up to the first ever Open Book Festival in September 2011.
Townhouse and Open Book Special Deal
Open Book website now up
To keep an eye on all developments at Open Book, keep an eye on the Open Book website – www,openbookfestival.co.za
PRESS RELEASE 06 April 2011
Jeanette Winterson Meets Paul Harding and Earl Lovelace at Cape Town’s Open Book Literary Festival
Internationally-acclaimed novelists Jeanette Winterson, Paul Harding and Earl Lovelace are set to appear at Cape Town’s inaugural Open Book literary festival this September.
The three writers’ bright careers present enticing contrasts for the city’s book lovers. Winterson, born in Manchester, UK, won the Whitbread Prize in 1985, and has published over a dozen books, along with numerous scripts and play adaptations. She is best known for novels like Oranges are Not the Only Fruit and The Passion but also writes children’s books and fiction for young adults, and was awarded an OBE for services to literature in 2006. Winterson will launch her forthcoming novel, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? at Open Book.
Harding, meanwhile, of Massachusetts, USA, has just got his start – which has been an auspicious one, to say the least. With his first novel, Tinkers, he joins the likes of Cormac McCarthy and Philip Roth in winning the Pulitzer Prize, an extraordinary honour for a debut work of fiction, which was also named one of the Hundred Best Novels of 2009 .
Earl Lovelace’s bibliography reads as long as his seventy-five years. An essayist, journalist, playwright and novelist, in 1997 the Trinidadian won the overall Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book for his novel Salt. His latest, Is Just a Movie, has attracted praise from all quarters, confirming his status as a master storyteller. “Is Just a Movie is the best novel I’ve read this year and I can’t wait for the opportunity to hear Lovelace talk about it,” said Mervyn Sloman, proprietor of local independent bookshop The Book Lounge and one of the festival’s organisers.
Lovelace, Harding and Winterson will count among some twenty-five international writers at Open Book Cape Town, which will take place from 21 to 25 September at The Fugard theatre and other venues in the city’s east precinct.
“Since announcing Open Book last December, we’ve been thrilled by the interest and support that’s poured in,” said Sloman. “It’s come together in an amazingly short space of time. Together with our partners, we are going to present a world-class literary event in Cape Town.”
Other writers and partners – plus: the Open Book youth programme
Others who will be flying in for the 5 day festival include Patrick Gale, Jane Bussmann, Patrick Ness, Hari Kunzru, Neel Mukherjee and David McCandless.
Open Book has partnered with several organisations that will contribute still further to its lineup, including the world-renowned Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts, which will present a special programme within the festival, and South African PEN, the local chapter of the international writers’ organisation, which will host a series of events during Open Book called Free the Word.
“Of course, no South African literary festival would be complete without the best in South African writing today,” said Sloman. Local authors will be involved in Open Book in a number of ways - from appearing on stage with their international counterparts to participating in Open Book’s special youth programme, organised together with civil society campaign Equal Education.
“The youth programme is meant, quite simply, to foster a greater love of reading and writing among Cape Town’s kids,” said Sloman. “There will be mentorships that will see a book of young people’s writings published, a ‘youth day’ of readings, workshops and performances, and during the course of the festival we’re going to stock a school library from scratch.”
In breaking news, civil society activist, Jay Naidoo has announced that he will contribute all royalties from the sales of his memoir, Fighting for Justice, to the youth programme. “The partnership with Equal Education,” said Naidoo, “is of utmost importance as they have been a driver in the people’s movement advocating for educational quality and equality in South African schools.”
Naidoo has called for his colleagues to match his move. “I challenge publishers, authors and book lovers to make a contribution in developing the Open Book Cape Town youth programme further,” he said – a wonderful surprise to the organisers, who certainly hope his call will be heeded.
2011, then, is blossoming anew with literary life in Cape Town. Open Book appears set to place the city on the world’s calendar of great litfests. Look out for more information about our partners, the youth programme and names of more writers appearing at Open Book in the next couple of weeks.
Short notes on some of the writers attending Open Book Cape Town
Hari Kunzru, past winner of the Betty Trask Award, the Somerset Maugham award and one of Granta’s ‘Best of Young British Novelists’. We are understandably excited that we will be launching his latest novel, God Without Men at Open Book.
Patrick Gale, the author of 17 critically claimed books, has appeared on a number of shortlists over the years and is a past winner of the Booksellers Association Independent Booksellers’ Book Prize for Notes from an Exhibition. Gale’s most recent book, Gentleman’s Relish, is his second collection of short stories.
David McCandless is author of the astounding Information is Beautiful which has delighted and entertained readers round the world as it explores the potential of data visualisation as a new direction for journalism and storytelling.
Neel Mukherjee was the joint winner (with Amitav Ghosh) of the Vodafone-Crossword Award for Past Continuous (now published as A Life Apart). He also won GQ (India) Writer of the year awards in 2009 and A Life Apart won the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Award for Best Fiction and was chosen as a ‘Book of the Year’ in The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Guardian and the Sunday Telegraph.
Patrick Ness has won numerous awards for his Chaos Walking series. The Knife of Never Letting Go won the Booktrust Teenage Prize, the Guardian Award and James Tiptree Jr Award. The Ask and the Answer had similar success and won the Costa Book Award in the children’s category.
Jane Bussmann has written for South Park, BBC and the Fast Show amongst others. Her show ‘Bussmann’s Holiday’ was nominated for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Awards and won the Best Comedy at Perrier Rivals the Tap Water Awards. The show grew out of the experiences she wrote about in The Worst Date Ever.
Open Book Cape Town is organised in association with Leopard’s Leap Wines, publishers Book Promotions, Jacana Media, Jonathan Ball, NB, Lapa, Oxford University Press, Pan Macmillan, Pearson, Penguin Books and Random House Struik, and in partnership with the Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts (UK), South African PEN, Equal Education, GIPCA, 99cents, the Townhouse Hotel and the Cape Times.
After last night’s announcement at the Book Lounge 3rd Birthday Party, which was greeted with great excitement, here is the first official Press Release for the festival…
Cape Town, Wednesday 1 December
New City Books and Literature Festival, Open Book Cape Town, Announced at The Book Lounge
Cape Town, get ready for a “bookjol” like no other.
At the annual birthday bash held last night for popular independent book shop The Book Lounge, proprietor Mervyn Sloman and Ben Williams of online books portal book.co.za unveiled plans for a new festival that will see top literary talent from around the world converge on the city in September, 2011.
The festival, called Open Book Cape Town, includes a partnership with The Hay Festival of Literature, which organises Britain’s premier literary festival in Hay-on-Wye, Wales, plus events in Colombia, Mexico, Kenya, The Maldives, India, Ireland, Spain and London, England.
The Hay Festival will bring a “Hay Presents” programme to Open Book Cape Town featuring several of the writers on its international slate. (See www.hayfestival.org.) “We’re really looking forward to it,” said Hay Festival director Peter Florence, in a video message played at The Book Lounge.
According to Sloman and Williams, that’s just to start. They also announced a partnership with the South African chapter of the writers’ organisation PEN, which will bring Gillian Slovo, president-designate of UK PEN, and John Ralston Saul, president of International PEN – as well as participants from the Caribbean, South America, Africa and the UK – to Open Book. Finally, Sloman and Williams named Toby Mundy of Atlantic Books, London, as the head of a festival advisory panel that includes award-winning authors Philip Gourevitch of the USA and Petina Gappah of Zimbabwe. The panel, with access to literary circles worldwide, will assist Open Book in crafting its international lineup.
Cape Town Tourism’s executive manager for marketing, Lianne Burton, put the Mother City firmly behind the initiative. “We are extremely excited about the long-term potential for this event,” she said in a letter of support to the organisers. “Cape Town’s relatively untapped treasure is that we are a city of ideas, of creativity and culture, of diversity, of self expression, of freedom, and of fascinating people with compelling stories to tell. Our authors and academies are globally respected, and the potential to position Cape Town as a place of thought leadership and ideas-sharing is limitless. Open Book is perfect for this.”
Partnering with Sloman and Williams are Equal Education, the organisation behind the 1 School 1 Library 1 Librarian campaign, and the Cape Times.
Alide Dasnois, editor of the Cape Times, said: “The Cape Times is proud to be associated with Open Book Cape Town, which will bring top South African and foreign writers into the heart of our city and offer the people of Cape Town the best festival of books and reading they’ve ever known.”
Equal Education, meanwhile, brings fresh ingredients to the standard literary festival model.
“The festival will help leverage support for our libraries campaign,” said the organisation’s Doron Isaacs, “and will foster debate on other ways to make books more widely available. But beyond that we’ve agreed to co-organise an Open Book youth programme that will generate excitement for reading in the communities and schools where Equal Education works.”
Open Book Cape Town will run from 21 to 25 September 2011, with the main events taking place in venues in the East City Precinct – the section of Cape Town’s CBD, with busy Buitenkant Street as its spine, where The Book Lounge opened its doors three years ago. A key founding sponsor of the festival is Leopard’s Leap Wines, already well-known for supplying the wine at book events across South Africa.
“Leopard’s Leap Wines is excited to be involved in Open Book Cape Town and we have no doubt that it will be a magnificent success and something that will become a permanent fixture and highlight of the South African literary calendar,” said Leopard’s Leap CEO Hein Koegelenberg.
As would be expected of an event run by Sloman and Williams, who are passionate advocates of local letters, South African authors will feature strongly in the literary showcase.
“Imagine it: more than a dozen top international writers joined on stage with the cream of the South African book scene,” said Sloman. “With world literature’s eyes focused on Cape Town, we will have an amazing opportunity to promote the best of South African writing to an international audience.
“Open Book Cape Town is meant to be exactly what it says, opening the world of books and ideas to as many people as possible. At The Book Lounge, we’re known for going big with book events – and our ambition is to make Open Book Cape Town the biggest ‘bookjol’ the city has ever seen.”
For more information on Open Book Cape Town, please contact Mervyn Sloman (021 462 2425 / firstname.lastname@example.org) or Ben Williams (021 434 4333 / email@example.com).
The Book Lounge: www.booklounge.co.za
BOOK SA: www.book.co.za | twitter.com/booksa
The Hay Festival: www.hayfestival.org | twitter.com/hayfestival
South African PEN: www.sapen.co.za
Atlantic Books: www.atlantic-books.com
Equal Education: www.equaleducation.org.za
The Cape Times: www.capetimes.co.za
Cape Town Tourism: www.capetown.travel | twitter.com/capetowntourism
The Townhouse Hotel and Conference Centre: www.townhouse.co.za