Once again the festival team delivered an outstanding event bringing some of the world’s best new writers into the intimate venues of the Fugard Theatre, the Book Lounge and the District Six Museum to share the stage with South Africa’s own writers, culturati and even the minister of finance, Pravin Gordhan.
While ticket prices averaged R45 many events were free, including a youth festival, master classes with international illustrators, movies showcasing South African animation, talks and panel discussions. Making the festival so accessible is the best feather in the festival’s cap.
Although the ideal might be to immerse oneself by attending back-to-back sessions or making use of the multi-day festival pass, the short sessions (usually an hour) and their central location in the heart of Cape Town’s east city and District Six makes it possible those who live and work in the greater CBD to slip in and out of the festival between work and domestic duties. What a privilege to be able to participate in an event such as this, with an otherwise ordinary day, enlivened by a wide diversity of brilliant, creative and courageous minds.
In six short years the festival has grown from its humble beginnings with only a handful of events in a couple of venues to a full-blown offering with multiple venues, simultaneous sessions and a convening of subcultures dedicated to diverse forms of reading, writing and production.
For a modest fee, or none at all, participants left stimulated, inspired, informed and entertained. Long live Open Book!