22 September 2011 by Dianne Tipping-Woods

A book FEAST

“What to read next” is an inevitable question. As I finish one book, I need to start the next.

My choices are informed by reviews I read, recommendations on twitter and sometimes, by wandering randomly through a book store, looking for interesting authors, titles and back pages. My kindle also makes recommendations based on books I’ve finished.

But one of my favourite ways to decide what to read next is a book festival. South Africa has a few of them; Wordfest at the annual National Arts Festival, the Mail & Guardian Literary Festival and, the latest, the Open Book Festival, which runs in Cape Town between 21 and 25 September.

The word ‘festival’ alone is license to indulge in, to celebrate, to feast on stories. To me, real writers are like demi-gods. The process of writing an actual book and, getting it published, is as enigmatic and mysterious and wonderful as Spring.

I love to hear writers speak about their work and I love to discover new writers, especially African writers, who can take me places I have never been, and back to some I know.

The Open Book Festival promises all this and more. The event is bringing a fantastic selection of writers to Cape Town, in support of its aims to make books more accessible, support reading, literacy and library campaigns and, develop a youth programme to bring in young readers.

The festival has close to 150 events, with about 80 local authors and 25 international authors participating.

Events, including readings and debates, are running in several locations in Cape Town’s ‘Fringe’ district. The Fugard Theatre is the hub and will be used extensively for events. Other venues include The District 6 Museum, The Homecoming Centre, the Townhouse Hotel, The Slave Lodge, The National Gallery, and Lobby Books.

Some of my programme highlights are events with NoViolet Bulawayo, who won the 2011 Caine Prize for ‘Hitting Budapest’, Sifiso Mzobe, whose debut novel, Young Blood, recently won the 2011 Sunday Times Fiction Prize and, James Clelland, whose novel Deeper than Colour, won the EU Literary Award in 2010 and was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Fiction Prize in 2011.

Category: Arts & Entertainment

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