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102 Writers and Illustrators Confirmed for 2015 Open Book Festival (So Far)

Confirmed authors for the 2015 Open Book Festival


The Book Lounge and the Fugard Theatre have announced the fifth edition of the Open Book Festival, and have released the names of the 82 local and 20 international participants confirmed so far.

The year’s Open Book will take place from 9-13 September in Cape Town. Venues include The Fugard Theatre, Homecoming Centre, Cape Town Central Library and The Book Lounge.

Mervyn Sloman, festival director, says: “We’re thrilled to announce a fantastic line-up for the fifth edition of Open Book. Festival goers have a wealth of stimulating and entertaining experiences to look forward to. South African writers will be sharing the stage with authors from Congo, Denmark, France, Kenya, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Russia, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA and Zimbabwe.

“We’re in the process of finalising the events that make up the festival and the programme will be available at the beginning of August.”

Tickets will be available from early August.

Note: The list of participants below is not final

Home RemediesBroken MonstersShouting in the DarkKopskootDevil's HarvestLion Heart

Confirmed South African authors:

Diane Awerbuck

Lauren Beukes

Elleke Boehmer

Lien Botha

Andrew Brown

Mary Burton

Kay Carmichael

Justin Cartwright

PapwaNaweekThe Last Road TripWhat About MeeraBest White and Other Anxious DelusionsThe Chameleon House

Maxine Case

Toast Coetzer

Gareth Crocker

Raphael D’Abdon

ZP Dala

Rebecca Davis

Melissa de Villiers

Jean de Wet

To Quote MyselfThe FetchShades of DarknessThe Impossible FiveThe Ghost-Eater and Other StoriesDance with Suitcase

Khaya Dlanga

Finuala Dowling

Jonty Driver

Justin Fox

Genna Gardini

Dawn Garisch

Lost and Found in JohannesburgA Renegade called SimphiweThe Search for the Rarest Bird in the WorldBeastkeeperThe Dream HouseJozi

Mark Gevisser

Pumla Gqola

Vernon RL Head

Cat Hellisen

Joey Hi-Fi

Derrick Higginbotham

Craig Higginson

Perfect Hlongwane

TakelwerkThe Space Between the Space BetweenAlphabet of DemocracySynapseGood Morning, Mr MandelaThe Texture of Shadows

Nic Hoekstra

Daniel Hugo

Gerhard Human

John Hunt

Anton Kannemeyer

Antjie Krog

Jacqui L’Ange

Zelda la Grange

Mandla Langa

Debbie Loots

CobraDub StepsBlood tiesRusty BellThe Violent Gestures of LifeThe Alphabet of Birds

Danelle Malan

Anthony Marshall-Smith

David McLennan

Deon Meyer

Andrew Miller

Paul Mills

Zimkitha Mlanzeli

Nthikeng Mohlele

Tauriq Moosa

Tshifhiwa Given Mukwevho

SJ Naudé

One Hand Washes the Other Power PlaySharp EdgesChants of FreedomHere I AmThe Spiral House

Chris Nicholson

Mike Nicol

Su Opperman

SA Partridge

Mathews Phosa

PJ Powers

Shirmoney Rhode

Claire Robertson

Green LionWhat Will People SayWhat Hidden LiesA Slim, Green SilenceTokoloshe SongBanquet at Brabazan

Henrietta Rose-Innes

Rehana Rossouw

Michele Rowe

Beverly Rycroft

Andrew Salomon

Patricia Schonstein

Stephen Segerman

Katleho Shoro

In die blou kampA Man of Good HopeSkuldigThe RaftChokers en survivorsThe Swan Whisperer

Dana Snyman

Jonny Steinberg

Martin Steyn

Craig Bartholomew Strydom

Fred Strydom

Onkgopotse JJ Tabane

Nathan Trantraal

Marlene van Niekerk

JudaskusThis One TimeThings I Thought I KnewWastedIt Might Get Loud

Rudie van Rensberg

Alex van Tonder

Anja Venter

Mandy J Watson

Kathryn White

Mark Winkler

Ingrid Winterbach

International authors:

Never Tickle a TigerSex and the CitadelWe Are All Completely Beside OurselvesA Place Called WinterThe Book of MemoryWords Will Break Cement

Marc Boutavant (France)

Shereen El Feki (UK)

Karen Joy Fowler (USA)

Patrick Gale (UK)

Petina Gappah (Zimbabwe)

Masha Gessen (Russia)

The Hormone FactoryUkraine DiariesThe Lights of Pointe-NoireH is for HawkThe House That Jack BuiltLives of Others

Saskia Goldschmidt (Netherlands)

Andrey Kurkov (Ukraine)

Alain Mabanckou (Congo)

Helen Macdonald (UK)

Jakob Melander (Denmark)

Neel Mukherjee (UK)

Foreign Gods, Inc.Into a Raging BlazeDustThe Sleeper and the SpindleOne of UsFind MeReliquaria

Okey Ndibe (Nigeria)

Andreas Norman (Sweden)

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor (Kenya)

Chris Riddell (UK)

Asne Seierstad (Norway)

Laura van den berg (USA)

RA Villanueva (USA)

Svante Weyler (Sweden)

Book details

One for the Books: Presenting the 2015 South African Book Fair Programme

The 2015 South African Book Fair programme has been released and, like your favourite novel, it’s filled with exciting characters, captivating dialogue and adventure. Taking place in Johannesburg from 31 July to 2 August, there is something for everyone, whether you are adult or child, a bookworm or occasional reader, a lover of all genres or loyal to just one, or thinking about getting into the publishing industry.

The SA Book Fair is South Africa’s largest fair of its kind and, naturally, attracts some of the biggest names. Over 100 authors, writers, poets, publishers and playwrights will be sharing their experience, talents and knowledge in a three day book-inspired escapade.

Scroll to the end to see the full programme

Here are a few highlights from our full programme:

Broken Monsters21 at 21Dr Eve's Sex Book for Young PeopleAchieving the ImpossibleOur MadibaThe Arrogance of PowerThe ANC Women's LeagueThe Space Between the Space BetweenWastedTo Quote MyselfBest White and Other Anxious DelusionsAffluenzaThe FetchWhat Will People SayPlasentaSaliger
Kodenaam IcarusWhen a Man Cries101 DetectivesStrange PilgrimagesThe ReactiveThe Last Road Trip
A Life DigestedEat, Drink and Blame the AncestorsThe Origins of Non-racialismThe Joburg BookWalter and Albertina SisuluThe Raft
’n Duisend stories oor JohannesburgThe FetchA Slim, Green SilenceHave You Seen Zandile?Oliver’s OutlineDie Dingesfabriek: Jannus en Kriek en die tydmasjienTarts


  • Wonderwoman – At a kids event, Lauren Beukes will be reading her Wonder Woman comic book with art by Mike Maihack.

    “The Trouble With Cats” in DC’s Sensation #9 sees Wonder Woman racing to save Batman and Superman from her archenemy, Cheetah, on a mythical island off the coast of Mozambique. But the story takes a twist to Soweto where a young girl has to find her own inner heroine and use the power of her imagination to save the day. This event is suitable for kids aged five and up and includes a brief talk on how comics are made. Grown-up comic fans welcome too. Dressing up as a superhero is encouraged!

  • Twenty-one born frees are asked what 21 years of democracy means – Melanie Verwoerd and Sonwabiso Ngcawo discuss the answers in 21 at 21.
  • Seduced! – Dr Eve chats to Kuli Roberts of Kaya FM as they explore a new threat to marriages and relationships – cyberinfidelity.
  • Black and White in Colour: Why race (still) matters – Lewis Gordon, Melanie Verwoerd and Xolela Mangcu, chaired by Shireen Hassim. In conjunction with the Mail & Guardian Literary Festival.
  • How imagination can change the world – Uno de Waal, winner of top African Blogger Award for Arts And Culture, chats to ad-men John Hunt, Mark Winkler and Khaya Dlanga about the power and magic of the imagination.
  • Africa is a continent of opportunity and potentialPublishing in Africa discusses the challenges and opportunities of trading books in the Global South.
  • It’s Reading, But Not As You Know It – Mike Mophoto, the man behind Diary of a Zulu Girl, Rebecca Davis and Nancy Brown from World Reader, explore fun and different ways of getting South Africans reading. With Karabo Kgoleng Dada.
  • The books you read say a lot about who you are – Novelists Niq Mhlongo, Finuala Dowling and Rehana Rossouw discover South Africa’s Bookself. Chaired by Karabo Kgoleng Dada.
  • Die opkoms van die vigilante in Lekkerkunde – Peet Venter en die krimisibbe, Dibi and Henk Breytenbach, filosofeer al drie oor die rol van die vigilante in hulle boeke. Ons sien dikwels hoe die howe skynbaar faal, maar wat is die alternatief?
  • ShortsSiphiwo Mahala talks to Ivan Vladislavić, Achmat Dangor and Masande Ntshanga about the art of the short story.
  • Books, boys and beersGareth Crocker, Khaya Dlanga and Pete Goffe-Wood share their bromance with Ndumiso Ngcobo over craft beers, as they discuss the meaning of life and friendship. Snacks included.
  • Future Perfect – Transforming Joburg from apartheid city to a city for all – David Everatt, Nechama Brodie and others. Chaired by Rashid Seedat in conjunction with the Mail & Guardian Literary Festival.

But that’s not everything, we have poetry and script-writing masterclasses, panel discussions, workshops and lectures, all involving leading writers, editors and publishers from South Africa and the world. If you want to enter the writing and publishing industry, we’ve geared a significant part of the programme towards new talent, so there are plenty of workshops to help you on your way. Some of these include:

  • Editing Workshop – This 50-minute hands-on workshop provides insight into whether editing is meant for you.
  • Get published – Get the inside scoop on taking your book from manuscript to publication. Mark Winkler talks about how he broke through the literature barrier, and numerous publishers give their tips and suggestions about digital versus physical choices and how to get published.
  • Scriptwriting stories – Masterclass with screenwriters Fred Strydom and Harry Kalmer.
  • Ever dreamt of expressing yourself through poetry? – In Poetry masterclass with Finuala Dowling and Beverly Rycroft, you’ll find there’s more to poetry than finding a word to rhyme with orange.

The popular Creative Mornings Johannesburg will be hosting their monthly session at the Fair with the title “Confessions of a design thief”. Participants will gain some insight into the workings of a creative mind during this entertaining talk from Garth Walker, the man who edited iJusi for 20 years.

And if you’re feeling energised after all the adventure, join PAST Experiences on one or both of their walking tours around historic Joburg – “The ANC – past, present and future” or “What’s in a name”, which explores the changing names of inner city Joburg, happening at midday on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
Children’s Zone
Whether you’ve got kids of your own or are simply indulging your inner child, our Children’s Zone is a must-visit destination. There are readings throughout each day and the event schedule is packed with new adventures and experiences in The Alice Room:

  • Hello, Hugless Douglas! – Join the creator himself, David Melling, as he reads his delightful story, shares the history and making of the huggable Douglas and shows how he comes to life. Suitable for three to six year olds.
  • Be taken on a magical tour of African folktales by famed storyteller, Gcina Mhlophe.
  • Jurassic Park is coming to Joburg – In “Dem Bones” children can listen to the best dino tales, meet a real paleontologist and dig for bones.
  • Beautiful me! – Join Alan Glass, the creator of Beautiful Creatures and Oliver’s Outline, as he talks and sings about self-esteem and loving yourself. For ages six and up
  • Books and ballet – come dance with words! – Every little girl, at some point, dreams of being a ballerina. In collaboration with the Joburg Ballet, enjoy a ballet story and mini class with a real ballerina who will tell you all about life behind the curtain.
  • Become a detective for a day! – Join Jenny Crwys-Williams, Elizabeth Wasserman and Dog-detective Willem on a mystery solving adventure. You’ll also get to win books for your school library, learn how to train your own dog-detective and get a photo of yourself taken with a guide dog.
  • A dress-up Mad Hatter’s Tea Party – In celebration of Alice in Wonderland’s 150th anniversary and the launch of Alice in IsiZulu, with readings in both English and IsiZulu. The Queen of Tarts, Tina Bester, will be serving it up and prizes for the best-dressed are on the cards. The guest list includes the Gruffalo, Wally, Floppy, Peter Rabbit and more. It promises to be the grand finale to the SA Book Fair.

And if you’re a teacher, learner or librarian, Friday is dedicated specifically to you, and a number of schools from across Johannesburg have already booked their school outing.

To find out more about our exciting and jam-packed schedule, visit

* * * * * * * *

View the complete programme for the SA Book Fair 2015:

2015 South African Book Fair Programme by Books LIVE


Book details

How to Drink that Orange, Tasteless Tea: An Excerpt About Rooibos from Stuff South African White People Like

Stuff South African White People LikeStuff South African White People Like by Christian Lander and Hagen Engler is a guide to decoding and navigating the dozens of odd predilections they exhibit.

Namibiana Buchdepot has shared an excerpt from the book, in which the authors explain the ins and outs of cross-cultural dating, the patriotism of slurping the tasteless orange tea grown in the Cape, and why white people are like Buddhists straining to achieve enlightenment.

The section about rooibos advises readers on how best to enjoy the tea, with a bonus tip at the end for “added white-person points.”

Read the excerpt:

Rooibos Tea

A South African white person will proclaim at the drop of a hat how much they love South Africa, and nothing makes them feel more South African than sipping rooibos tea. It’s great because this orange, tasteless tea can only be grown in the Western Cape and is thus 100 per cent South African. It is the most patriotic tea, since other teas are likely to come from Sri Lanka. The most hardcore way to consume rooibos is straight up in a cup, without milk or sugar.

Book details

Rebecca Davis Launches Best White and Other Anxious Delusions at The Book Lounge

Rebecca Davis

The launch of Best White and Other Anxious Delusions by Rebecca Davis at The Book Lounge was an evening of great hilarity.

Mervyn Sloman, owner of The Book Lounge, was in conversation with the author, a well-known columnist and journalist for The Daily Maverick, about a whole range of subjects.

Sloman began by welcoming the many guests, joking that he would insist on Davis’ next launch being at Cape Town Stadium.

Shop window at the Book LoungeBest White and Other Anxious DelusionsThe event kicked off with details of the colourful language that had offended those with more delicate sensibilities at a recent literary festival.

Davis’ mimicry of the unusual people she has encountered (Oscar Pistorius, fellow passengers on a SAA flight and her boss – on Hello Cupid) makes her a shoe-in for a stand up comedy show, and her accounts of her unusual life kept the audience roaring with laughter.

“A lot of people who don’t know her have, until now, thought her quite serious,” Sloman said of Davis, “a person who writes about serious issues in an intelligent way. For those of you who shared that misconception, forget about all that. This book is absolutely marvellous.”

After cracking the book open at 11.30 PM after a singularly awful day, when the publishing industry had profoundly dented his humour, Sloman says he found himself laughing aloud within two pages.

“I was guffawing! Even though I hate that word, that’s what I was doing. It felt good to laugh. It felt like the world was somehow a better place,” he said.

Davis interrupted him and, looking him directly in the eye, said “Well that’s just as well, Mervyn, because I wrote the book for you.” She paused, looked at the audience, and said, “And for you!”

The author shared her recollections of working as a “fake girlfriend” on a well known internet dating site, being paid to send notes like “Hi Hon, fancy a chat? xx” to some 5 000 people, and then being obliged to correspond with those who replied.

She recalled researching the number one hit single that played when “Marjorie from Wiltshire, 56″ was 17, as well as lying about having grandchildren who were watching Finding Nemo.

The experience was stressful and troubled her conscience. After a couple of back and forth messages, the person inevitably wanted to meet, at which point she had to pull the plug. “If you ever hear, ‘Good luck on your journey’ you know you’ve been well and truly had!”

The audience also heard terrific tales of Davis’ time working on the Oxford English Dictionary and her getting bumped from a flight while covering the Oscar trial.

If you could not attend, this podcast (provided courtesy of The Book Lounge) will delight almost as much as the book:

* * * * * * * *

Liesl Jobson (@LieslJobson) tweeted live from the event using the hashtag #livebooks:


Facebook album

Rebecca Davis launched her book in conversation with Mervyn Sloman

Posted by Pan Macmillan South Africa on Monday, 22 June 2015


Book details

Calling all Graphic Novel Enthusiasts to a Comic Book Market at the Erdman Gallery

All-day Comics Event at the Erdman Gallery

Blank Books and Bibliophilia invite you to a day of celebrating the art of comic books at Erdman Gallery.

Graphic novel enthusiasts can look forwards to pop-up shops featuring Azania Mania Art Kolektiv, Underground Comix, local creator signings, comic book exchange, doodle session, rare editions, handmade minicomics and much much more!

The Comic Book Market will take place on Saturday, 20 June, at the Erdman Gallery in Cape Town. The doors open from 2 to 6 PM.

Come and meet cool comic artists and buy some comics!

Event Details

  • Date: Saturday, 20 June 2015
  • Time: 2:00 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: Erdman Gallery
    84 Kloof Street
    Cape Town | Map


It's Code Red!DemoCrazyWhat's So Funny?The Sleeper and the SpindleDungeon Quest
Broken MonstersZoo City (SA edition)null

Book Details

New Release | Way out in India

Way Out In India_Front Cover

Way out in India

Travels in a Curoius Land

Meryl Urson

Pages: 280 pages

Retail Price: R220 (incl. VAT)

Publication Date: April 2015

Format: Paperback, A5

ISBN Number: 9781928276142

Genre: Non-Fiction / Travel

Book Description


When Meryl Urson stepped off a plane for the first time into a steamy Mumbai midnight, little did she know that she’d begun a lengthy love affair with India?

It would stretch across innumerable encounters and far into her future. This book is a record of her relationship with the world’s most fascinating country.

The reader is swept from the craziness of a revered guru’s southern headquarters to the turbulent peaks of the northern Himalayas, and through adventures as diverse as the discovery of a secret queen’s bath-house glittering behind a long-locked door, and the toppling of a Karl Marx statue in the middle of a Keralan Communist rally.

Way out in India is an idiosyncratic view of the diversity of life on the subcontinent through the enchanted eyes of an author in love with both place and people.

About the Author

Meryl Urson is a South African yoga teacher and a wife and mother of three grown children.  In former years she survived a stint of English teaching in a boys’ high school, learned to type fast as a medical secretary, honed her olfactory skills while practicing aromatherapy and rejoiced at being a published writer.

Her writings were products of the 80s and 90s before parenting won out over the pen.  They included a book of short stories called Loaded, an illustrated children’s book called Vuyo’s Whistle and a children’s TV script called Nkathazo, which was translated into the Xhosa language and aired on South African TV. She also wrote several pieces of fiction and non-fiction for various South African magazines over many years.

She has also travelled extensively, to many countries and most continents and has visited India six times, unable to resist the curries that call to her from across the Indian Ocean.

She wrote the book to share the colour and chaos of the country with readers far and wide and to make them snort with laughter in airport lounges, at the hairdresser or in their beds.

If she manages to transport the reader to India, actually or vicariously, her book will have done its job.