Open Book Festival at The Fugard #obf2018

After receiving an invitation to be a panelist for Open Book Festival from the organisers (Mervyn and Frankie), I must say I had to reread the mail a few times just to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. Soon, my author profile was live and it was official. I was invited to be a panelist for three talks: 1. Feminism Is – Listening Room, 2. Turning Points on defining moments on our journeys and 3. Food on the Page about Just Add Rice – stories and recipes by a Taiwanese South African.

These talks reflected the discussions I try to have with family, friends, and offer as tailored presentations, which includes intersectional feminism, representation, the diaspora East Asian lived experiences as a Taiwanese South African and the role of food in a cultural home.

Left to right: Ming-Cheau Lin, Tayfun Aras & Ishay Govender-Ypma (host).


Open Book Festival at The Fugard Theatre is an annual literary festival, the first of which happened in 2011. Dates for Open Book 2018 are 5 – 9 September. The hubs will once again be the Fugard Theatre, The District 6 Museum Homecoming Centre and much-loved indie bookshop, The Book Lounge.

When Mervyn Sloman and Ben Williams started talking about creating a festival, they had in mind around 60 literary events over 5 days featuring about 15 top international as well as some of the best South Africans writing today. Due to the incredible support Open Book received, that quickly grew into a festival that now includes over 100 events, featuring over 100 authors.

There are four major elements to the Open Book vision.

(1) A truly international festival that attracts top writers and an audience from around the world.
(2) A fantastic showcase of the best of South African writing.
(3) Making a significant and sustainable contribution to our future by building a love of reading and books among the youth of Cape Town.
(4) Drawing representative audiences to all Open Book events.

Events we are planning speak to all four goals. The core programme of the festival includes events that feature both international and local authors and through #CocreatePoetica and the Open Book Comics Fest, we work with some of the most talented poets and comic book artists. We organise events in selected schools and public libraries and have started long term projects inspired by our vision.

Open Book has developed a number of partnerships to ensure the festival is of the highest standard. The partners we work with play a significant role in the ongoing success of the festival in a number of ways, from bringing authors to the festival on our behalf through to extending our reach into different communities. For a complete list of our partners, please visit our sponsorship page.

Frankie Murrey
Open Book Festival Co-ordinator

(as it appears on Open Book Festival’s website)














It was a truly humbling experience to be a speaker at the Open Book Festival 2018. Thank you to everyone that came through to support, for crying with me when I poured my heart out in Feminism Is when I opened up about sexual harassment and media portrayal as a diaspora East Asian in a western society and for laughing at my awkward jokes while speaking about identity, representation and being invisibilised as a minority in South Africa. My headmaster, Paul Cassar, from high school (in Bloemfontein), who’s now based in Cape Town, even surprised me and came through to support my talks.

Thank you to those who bought my cookbook and stayed for more conversation after the talk. I’m truly humbled. I got to listen to, meet and fangirl at some authors I follow and admire in real life, bringing out my copies of their books to get the famous autograph. To my fellow panelists and conversationalists, you’re all incredible, thank you for the engaging and mind provoking dialogue. Extra love to the amazing team at The Fugard Theatre for the great service from your staff and Leopard’s Leap Wines for your continuous support in South African literature.

If you missed the festival this year, do partake and attend the talks next year to gain new insights and discover more local (and some international) authors of South Africa.

Left to right: Joy Watson (host),Kit Beukes, Janine Adams, Ming-Cheau Lin, Tshepiso Mashinini & Michelle Hattingh.

Left to right: Sara-Jayne King, Haji Mohamed Dawjee, Iman Rappetti & Ming-Cheau Lin.

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