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Programme announced for Open Book Festival 2022

09 March 2022 - 11:40 By Christine Skinner
Open Book is returning. Save the dates March 26 and 27.
Open Book is returning. Save the dates March 26 and 27.
Image: Mak1one

After an absence of two years as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Open Book Festival returns with an exciting two-day, in-person event.

Participants and authors will finally have the chance to sit in the same room again at the more compact festival, which will take place on March 26 and 27 at Bertha House in Mowbray, Cape Town. Tickets are available through Webtickets.

Seating will be strictly limited due to Covid-19 protocols and the capacity of the venue, so early booking is essential.

Open Book Festival is one of the most innovative literature festivals in SA. It has twice been shortlisted for the London Book Fair Excellence Awards. Nearly 10,000 people attended the most recent annual event, which ran for nine years up to 2019. During the past two years, Open Book Festival’s podcast series has kept the engaging conversations going, while highlighting some of the incredible books that have been published.

Open Book Festival is committed to creating a space to celebrate South African writers. It strives to instil a love of reading among young attendees, with the programme designed to engage, entertain and inspire conversations among festivalgoers long after the event.

“Our digital engagements have provided a good platform to talk about the compelling books South African authors have continued to write, but nothing can beat the experience of an in-person event,” said festival organiser Vasti Calitz.

“We are delighted to be hosting our first live post-pandemic festival. With the devastating impact Covid-19 has had on the creative sector, we have decided to present an all-South African line up for this event.

“Although the March edition is a miniature version of our usual festival, audiences will be able to enjoy everything they have come to expect from the Open Book Festival experience — engaging, entertaining discussions followed by great conversations long after the session in the venue’s on-site café.

“In other good news, look out for our events throughout the year, including another festival in September. There's a lot to look forward to and we expect the year to be thrilling,” said Calitz.

Authors, activists, journalists, academics and poets come together to debate topics. Festivalgoers can look forward to discussions ranging from loss, land and city landscapes to courage, capitalism and the power of memory.

Participants at the 2022 Open Book Festival include: Sindiswa Busuku, Azille Coetzee, CA  Davids, Finuala Dowling, Andries du Toit, Relebone Rirhandzu eAfrika, Shana Fife, vangile gantsho, Pumla Gqola, Tapiwa Guzha, Robert Hamblin, Imran Hamdulay, Ingrid Jones, Joanne Joseph, Faye Kabali-Kagwa, Sara-Jayne King, Bongani Kona, Kelly-Eve Koopman, Aoife Lennon-Ritchie, Alistair Mackay, Jessica Mbangeni, Bridget McNulty, Thenjiwe Mswane, Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, Sue Nyathi, Julie Nxadi, Edgar Pieterse, Mpho Raboeane, Katlego Ramantsima, Nancy Richards, Quaz Roodt, Keely Shinners, Kelly Smith, Toni Giselle Stuart, Sarah Summers, Jen Thorpe, Hedley Twidle and Joy Watson.

The programme line-up:

March 26

  • 10am-11.30am: Getting Real about Land (with PLAAS)
    Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, Mpho Raboeana and Andries du Toit speak to Katlego Ramantsima about the real politics of land.

  • 12pm-1pm: A Map of Loss
    Relebone Rirhandzu eAfrika, Bongani Kona and Bridget McNulty speak to Joy Watson about how we survive.

  • 2pm-3pm: Present Dystopia
    Kelly-Eve Koopman, Alistair Mackay and Keely Shinners speak to Edgar Pieterse about imagining a landscape of the future on that of the present.

  • 4pm-5pm: Unmaking Fear
    Shana Fife, Pumla Gqola and Sue Nyathi speak to Sara-Jayne King about everyday acts of courage and resistance against the patriarchy.

  • 5pm-7pm: Our Move Next: Speculative Fiction E- anthology launch
    The launch event for this exciting open-source anthology features music, artwork and readings from selected pieces by young South African performers.

  • 6pm-7pm:  Politics of Memory
    CA Davids, Joanne Joseph and Bongani Kona speak to Sindiswa Busuku about what we choose to remember and why.

March 27

  • 10am-11am: The Pressure to Produce
    Relebone Rirhandzu eAfrika, Tapiwa Guzha and Jen Thorpe explore the effect of capitalism on creativity and mental health in the company of Faye Kabali-Kagwa.

  • 12pm-1pm: Queering Family
    Robert Hamblin, Thenjiwe Mswane and Keely Shinners explore what family can mean in the company of Kelly Smith.

  • 2pm-3pm: Playing Along
    Azille Coetzee, Pumla Gqola and Joy Watson speak to Ingrid Jones about the roles women must play to survive.

  • 4pm-5pm: The Architecture of Words
    CA Davids, Finuala Dowling and Nancy Richards speak to Aoife Lennon-Ritchie about their writing processes.

  • 5.30pm — 7pm: A Pandemic. Pause. Poetry
    vangile gantsho and Toni Giselle Stuart hold a conversation about surviving the pandemic through poetry with Jessica Mbangeni, Julie Nxadi and Quaz Roodt. What this time teaches us, what we remember and how we move forward.

Article provided by Christine Skinner on behalf of Open Book Festival


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