By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network
NEW YORK (IDN) — The Open Book Festival 2022 returns to Cape Town, South Africa, from March 26-27 after an absence of two years as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Open Book is a literary festival with a focus on South African literature in an international context. The event has in the past included over 150 literary events, featuring over 100 authors over 5 days.
“We are delighted to be hosting our first live, post-pandemic Festival. With the devastating impact that Covid-19 has had on the creative sector, we have decided to present an all-South African lineup for this event,” said Open Book Festival organizer Vasti Calitz.
“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.
The festival will take place at Bertha House in Mowbray, Cape Town.
“Those who attend the two-day affair will see, among others, Sindiswa Busuku, Azille Coetzee, C. A. Davids, Relebone Rirhandzu eAfrika, Shana Fife, vangile gantsho, Pumla Gqola, Tapiwa Guzha, Faye Kabali Kagwa, Bongani Kona, Jessica Mbangeni, Thenjiwe Mswane, Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, Sue Nyathi, and Julie Nxadi.
Before Covid-19 disallowed large in-person gatherings, the festival ran uninterrupted for nine years. At its most recent live event, nearly ten thousand people were in attendance. In the place of the event, the festival’s podcast kept the conversation going while highlighting some of the books published during the pandemic.
“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,” added Calitz.
The festival is committed to creating a space to celebrate South African writers. It strives to instill a love of reading with the program designed to engage, entertain and inspire conversations among festival-goers long after the event.
Last year produced five literary awards to African writers. These include: At Night All Blood Is Black, a novel by French-Senegalese writer and academic David Diop who scooped the International Booker Prize.
La plus secrète mémoire des hommes (‘The Most Secret Memory of Men’), a novel by Senegalese writer Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, winner of the French Prix Goncourt.
Paulina Chiziane was awarded the 2021 Camões Prize for literature awarded to writers from Portuguese-speaking countries. The jury unanimously decided to award the Prize to the Mozambican writer, highlighting her vast production and critical reception, as well as the academic and institutional recognition of her work. The jury also referred to the importance she attaches in her books to the problems of Mozambican and African women.
Other winners were Damon Galgut, author of The Promise – a family saga spanning four decades, each of which features a death in the family, and Abdulrazak Gurnah who received the Nobel Prize for Literature for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents.” Gurnah’s work includes the novels Paradise, By the Sea, and, most recently, Afterlives.
The Open Book Festival, has twice been shortlisted for the London Book Fair Excellence Awards. [IDN-InDepthNews – 21 March 2022]
Photo: A full audience enjoys an Open Book Festival event in September 2018 in Cape Town. Credit: Retha Ferguson
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