Literary festivals seem to be what's up this September in South Africa but I am full of the sads because I am missing ALL of them. This is because I am taking a day job outside of publishing in September.
First up is Open Book Festival: 7 - 11 September. There's a lot of writers I wouldn't mind kicking it with who are on the programme and even a few YA writers invited. With Andre, Niq, Teju and Kgebetli there it's gonna be a little Saint-Malo/Brazzaville reunion and I wish I could be there for the shenanigans.
The other 2013 authors at Open Book are:
Alex Latimer, Andrew Brown, Andy Mason, Angela Makholwa, Anton Kannemeyer, Arthur Attwell, Clinton Osbourne, Conrad Botes, Damien Brown, David Tyfield, Dawn Garisch, Deon Meyer, Diane Awerbuck, Dianne Hofmeyr, Fiona Snyckers, Frank Westerman, Gail Schimmel, Gillian Slovo, Haidee Kruger, Henrietta Rose-Innes, Ian Rankin, Imraan Coovadia, Jacob Sam-La Rose, Joe Vaz, Kamila Shamsie, Khadija Heeger, Khosi Xaba, Lauren Beukes, Malika Ndlovu, Margie Orford, Marli Roode, Michael Grant, Mukesh Kapila, Mukoma wa Ngugi, Nadia Davids, NoViolet Bulawayo, Patrick deWitt, Polly Dunbar, Pumla Gqola, Rachel Holmes, Reneilwe Malatji, Rico, Sally Partridge, Sarah Lotz, Sindiwe Magona, Songeziwe Mahlangu, Toni Stuart, Will Storr and Zapiro.
Looking forward to seeing the programme, especially the youth programme. There is also a Comics Fest happening at Open Book and who the hells could say no to that shizz?
The other literary shindig in September (which arguably should be a bigger deal) is National Book Week 2013. NBW takes place every first week of September and is run by South African Book Development Council (SABDC) in collaboration with the Department of Arts and Culture. The week is meant to coincides with International Literacy Day on 8 September. I wish that National Book Week would move around the country more to give more people the opportunity to be a part of it. Their book ambassadors include peeps other peeps seem to care about like Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, Zonke, Aaron Moloisi, Jafta Mamabolo, DJ Sbu, Kabomo and others so maybe NBW/DAC could take them to Durban, Kimberly, Bloemfontein, Mafikeng, Polokwane and other major cities in the coming years? Hell, maybe have events throughout the year to celebrate book readers and book writers? Just thinking out loud here.
And the last and littlest literary event in September is (disclaimer) a project of my current employer, Puku Children's Literature Foundation. Puku, the National Arts Festival and Rhodes University are hosting the first-ever isiXhosa Children’s Story Festival from 6 – 8 Sept in Grahamstown. We didn't call it a book fair or a literary festival because we don't want to scare anyone off with titles that may be perceived as being elitist or might intimidate those who do not think they 'belong' at the literary festival. Instead, we want to bring the Xhosa community, where-ever they may be, together to share their stories in print or otherwise. Keeping local stories alive for this generation and many after that means that we need events like this festival to bring storytelling, song, dance and books together in a joyous celebrate of the language. At least, that's the idea.
I may not actually get to go to any of these but things are happening, more people are reading or at least superficially interested enough in the idea of reading to support festivals that celebrate literature and languages and that's kind of great just by itself.
Find out more about Open Book
Find out more about NBW
Find out more about the Xhosa Festival