Book News: Superstars and Lammys

Don’t miss the ninth instalment of this literary festival and be sure to support all the African talent being showcased over the four day long book fest. Picture: Supplied
Don’t miss the ninth instalment of this literary festival and be sure to support all the African talent being showcased over the four day long book fest. Picture: Supplied

Open Book opens up

From September 4 to 8 the ninth Open Book Festival will commence in Cape Town and this year’s edition boasts some stellar African writers.

It seems it has responded to the criticism that it has been, in the past, too white and insular.

The festival draws in a large audience with attendance figures of about 10 000 people.

The first batch of names of writers who will be at this year’s festival was announced this week.

They will partake in stimulating literary conversations, panels, book launches, readings and performances.

Nigeria has given rise to many talented writers.

Even South Africa is now aware that literary rock star Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is not the only Nigerian writer out there.

So who can you expect at the festival? Chigozie Obioma (US/Nigeria) , who has written the breakout novels An Orchestra of Minorities and The Fishermen, is a big deal and the fest’s headliner. He’ll be joined by, among others, Oyinkan Braithwaite (Nigeria) famous for My Sister the Serial Killer; Sarah Ladipo Manyika (UK/Nigeria) with her In Dependence and Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun; and Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia (Nigeria), author of The Son of The House.

Chigozie Obioma

Locally we have a wide range of proficient architects of the written word. On the line-up are, among others, Pumla Dineo Gqola (Reflecting Rogue: Inside the Mind of a Feminist), Sisonke Msimang (The Resurrection of Winnie Mandela), B Camminga (Transgender Refugees and the Imagined South Africa: Bodies Over Borders and Borders Over Bodies), Tlaleng Mofokeng (Let’s Talk about Sex), Mohale Mashigo (Intruders), Fred Khumalo (Talk of the Town and The Longest March) and the brilliant young writing sensation Masande Ntshanga (Triangulum).

This necessary festival will be hosted at venues around the city. The Book Lounge and The Fugard Theatre will open their doors to the bookworms with other related festival events happening at the District Six Homecoming Centre and The A4 Arts Foundation. For more information on the festival, visit openbookfestival.co.za. – Phumlani S Langa

We like it very much

The queer literary scene in Africa is growing at a thrilling rate. So it should come as no surprise that we have scooped a Lammy award. As You Like It: The Gerald Kraak Anthology Volume II, edited and published by The Other Foundation and Jacana Media, was announced as this year’s Lambda Literary Award winner for Best LGBTQ Fiction Anthology.

The 31st Annual “Lammys” were handed out on Monday at New York University’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. Hailed as the most prestigious and glamorous queer literary event in the world, it brought together 600 guests to celebrate and honour the best in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender books.

OluTimehin Adegbeye

Bridget Impey, publishing director at Jacana Media said: “We are all over the moon, even a day or so later. Such recognition helps the world to recognise the bravery, beauty and relevance of the anthology. Go out, buy a copy.”

As You Like It is a collection of the shortlisted entries submitted for the Gerald Kraak Award, launched in 2016 by the Jacana Literary Foundation and The Other Foundation, to honour the legacy of the late social justice and anti-apartheid activist Gerald Kraak.

The compilation of 22 works of fiction, nonfiction, photography, poetry and journalism by 15 artists “offers a window into deeply located visions and voices across Africa. It brings together stories of self-expression, identity, sexuality and agency, all located within Africa and its legacy,” said the publishers.

Last month this year’s Gerald Kraak Prize was awarded to Nigeria’s OluTimehin Adegbeye for her nonfiction piece, Mothers and Men. – Nickita Maesela

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