Two of my favorite worlds collide in Cape Town next month at the Open Book Festival. But more on that later, first let’s focus on the fest.
In case you don’t know, Open Book is a diverse and very convenient literary festival hosted by The Book Lounge and The Fugard Theatre . If you live in Cape Town and have never been to the aforementioned establishments, you have missed out. Make Open Book a reason to get down there.
Because I am only one level above stalker on the Nosy Parker Scale, I love things like this. These are the kinds of events where authors emerge from behind their desks/computers/hand written manifestos and answer tricky questions before an audience. It’s marvelous. It’s Quizzy Lizzy heaven.
The programme (ie Who is Being Grilled When) for Open Book is available HERE but I will give you a hint because I’m helpful that way.
One highlight for me is the event where the ocean meets the sand, where surfing meets the literary world and forms a perfect intertidal zone. It’s an event where a book panel talks surfing.
The event is called Me and My Board and will be chaired by Glen Thompson, a Stellenbosch University Research Associate in history. (Of surfing. More specifically he writes on race, gender and cultural politics in the history of South African surfing.) He has a good South African surfing name, even though it’s spelled differently, and it turns out that he is perched at #25 in the SUPSA National Wave Rankings in the Open Men’s division (Stand Up Paddle) for 2016. Glen is also the Environmental Officer of SUPSA (the national Stand Up Paddle organization) and he will be at Open Book, chatting to two quite different surf legends, Chris Bertish and Andy Martin
Chris is famous for surfing big waves (four story building size, about 40 – 60 foot), winning the Mavericks Invitational in 2010 and writing an interesting book about it all called Stoked. (I have made his two wave hold down mantra ‘When you panic, don’t panic‘ my own for anxiety fraught moments in 3 foot Muizies.) Chris is about to attempt a mind-boggling first ever Sup trans-Atlantic crossing. (Yes. The actual vast ocean on a Stand Up Paddle Board. Alone. Read about it HERE)
Andy is famous, not for surfing big waves, neither for getting those 20 stitches in his head trying, but rather for applying his excellent mind to taming those tube rides into words, for somehow bringing the ever moving playground of the sea into our realm of understanding and for allowing us to pause and reflect on our obsession with an environment in which we cannot ultimately survive. Andy does this with astonishing skill in his cult classic book Walking On Water His other equally compelling book on surfing, Stealing the Wave , is the story of the rivalry between big wave surfers Ken Bradshaw and Mark Foo.
He has written many other books/papers/articles on a variety of subjects including this inspiring piece on Bethany Hamilton. He is a lecturer in the Department of French at Cambridge University and a fair weather surfer. Andy is also in Cape Town to chat about his wonderful new book on Lee Child’s writing process, called Reacher Said Nothing You can catch the event he will skype with Lee Child HERE but happily, at Me and My Board he is going to chat about surfing .
Because it’s surfing and books and I like to share the stoke, I am going to give a couple of you lovely locals tickets to this event. You need to write your answer to the Very Tricky Question of your choice below in the comments section of the blog. I will randomly pick a couple of winners from those who answer correctly.
No worries if you don’t get a ticket. Or if you have to work. Or if the waves are good. I will be clutching my mobile device at the event so you can catch it all live (or later) on Twitter.
- Name the surfer who paddled for help when he and his friends raft capsized.
- Name one of Cape Town’s big wave spots.
- Which surf biography won a Pulitzer Prize in 2016?
Other Helpful Open Book Hints:
- Bring money. To buy books.
- Buy books.
- Have them signed.
- Support the Leopards Leap #Words4Wine which is a ticket free event, where you bring a pre-loved book to donate and then you receive a lovely glass of wine for your generosity.
Heluhelu & Aloha