Spirit of Jewish life for literary festival

Author Rahla Xenopoulos who will speak about her book The Season of Glass at the Jewish Literary Festival on Sunday

Author Rahla Xenopoulos who will speak about her book The Season of Glass at the Jewish Literary Festival on Sunday.

No sooner is the Franschhoek Literary Festival over than news of upcoming Cape Town festivals emerges.

The first is the Jewish Literary Festival, which has a programme of more than 60 events over a single day on Sunday (June 17).

Then later this year comes the Open Book Festival which runs from September 5 to 9.

The Jewish Literary Festival is in its third year,offering interaction with more than 100 wordsmiths. The aim, say the organisers, is to create constructive dialogue and discussion in the spirit of Jewish life without promoting any single political or religious agenda.

Authors taking part will include Lyndall Gordon, Stephanie Urdang, Damon Galgut , SJ Naude, Dennis Davis, Albie Sachs, Jennifer Friedman, Dr Eve, Diane Awerbuck, Jane Raphaely, Ken Barris, Ian Mann, Jennifer Ancer, Jonathan Ancer, Rosemund Handler, Mandy Wiener, Anton Harber, Nechama Brodie, Rahla Xenopoulos and Joanne Jowell.

Authors, poets, illustrators, journalists, writers and educators with a Jewish connection or who are engaged with subjects of Jewish interest, will come together to explore a variety of genres, including memoir, comedy, art and writing, fiction, magic, crime, politics, history, sport and food.

There is also a full children’s programme for kids between four and 11, and a programme for young.

The festival takes place next Sunday from 9am to 6pm at the Gardens Community Centre in Cape Town, home to the Jacob Gitlin Library and the Cape Jewish Chronicle, key partners of the festival. Tickets are R275 for adults, R100 for young readers and R85 for children under 12. Book through Quicket.co.za

The ticket price includes admission to all sessions, lunch at Café Riteve, and access to bespoke coffee bars that will be open throughout the day.

The Book Lounge is the festival’s associated bookseller. Along with the Fugard Theatre, it is also one of the backers of the immensely popular Open Book Festival in September.

This festival will include book launches, panel discussions, workshops, master classes, readings and performances. It also hosts the popular Comics Fest, #cocreatePoetica and various children’s and outreach programmes.

International authors who have confirmed their attendance include:

  • Nigerian/American Lesley Arimah, whose debut collection of stories What it Means when a Man Falls from the Sky won the 2017 Kirkus Prize.
  • Swedish writer Jonas Bonnier whose suspense thriller The Helicopter Heist is a gripping suspense thriller about the real-life Västberga helicopter robbery in which a stolen chopper was used as the getaway vehicle.
  • Jamaican/American writer Nicole Dennis-Benn whose debut novel Here Comes the Sun won a host of accolades.
  • Canadian travel writer, cartoonist and animator Guy Deslisle who is known for his graphic novels about his travels.
  • Scottish/ American essayist Aminatta Forna whose work has appeared the Guardian, The New York Re view of Books and Vogue.

The festival will also feature a number of South African writers, or as festival director Mervyn Sloman says: “A key objective is to celebrate the wealth of South African talent. We have a selection of the most insightful minds and compelling storytellers joining us.”

They include:

  • Police Major General Jeremy Vearey who will discuss his memoir Jeremy Vannie Elsies which describes growing up in Elsies River, becoming the head of the anti-gang unit in the Western Cape, joining MK and being imprisoned on Robben Island.
  • Tumelo BHuthelezi, whose debut novel The Last Sentence isa psychological thriller.
  • Ijangolet S Ogwang, whose novel An Image in a Mirror, is an African coming-of-age story.
  • Clinton Chauke, whose bookBorn in Chains: The Diary of an Angry ‘Born Free’ is described as a story of
  • Journalist Rebecca Davis, author of Best White and Other Anxious Delusions, who will talk about her new memoir and spiritual quest.
  • Haji Dawjeewhose book Sorry, Not Sorry describes the experience of moving through post-apartheid South Africa as a woman of colour.
  • Zuki Wanner’s books include Men of the South which was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize Africa Region for Best Book; London – Cape Town – Joburg. Her recent Hardly Working: A Travel Memoir of Sorts explores the politics of nations, and the “burden” of travelling on an African passport.

Last year nearly 10 000 people attended the festival’s record 140 events.

Venues include the Fugard Theatre, District Six Homecoming Centre, the A4 Arts Foundation, and The Book Lounge in central Cape Town. Selected events will also take place at venues including Elsies River Library and Molo Mhlaba School.

For more information and the full programme, which will be available in August, visit www.openbookfestival.co.za.



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