New literary festival for Simon’s Town

A new literary festival, Books on the Bay, is coming to Simon’s Town in March.

A new literary festival, Books on the Bay, featuring a diverse line-up of writers, is to be held in Simon’s Town.

The festival’s 19 events, including readings, panel discussions, music, and poetry, across seven venues, will run from Friday March 10 to Saturday March 11

The official launch, at St Francis of Assisi Anglican Church, on Friday February 10 will feature readings by Nobel laureate JM Coetzee, poet and writer Antjie Krog and Angolan novelist José Agualusa.

The festival is being organised by UWC extraordinary professor David Attwell, UWC lecturer in education Darryl David and writer and publisher Karin Cronje.

According to Mr Attwell, Simon’s Town’s historical richness and natural beauty make it the ideal venue.

“First, it’s beautiful, so people all over greater Cape Town and beyond like to spend time here. Second, it’s rich in history, some of it quirky, some of it inspiring, some of it painful, but all of it is worth telling. Finally, a surprising number of world-class writers and journalists live here and in the far south. The festival aims to celebrate their creativity.”

Participating writers and speakers include Jacques Pauw, José Agualusa, Max du Preez, Mignonne Breier, Barbara Mutch, Damon Galgut, Finuala Dowling, Sindiwe Magona, Futhi Ntshingila, Mark Gevisser, Helen Moffet, among others.

Finuala Dowling, a Muizenberg resident and award-winning poet and novelist, said the festival had already generated a lot of interest.

“The deep south has so many great writers and readers and there’s already a huge buzz about the festival. The programme is outstanding – a who’s who of South African books. Professor David Attwell and his team have been working really hard,” she said.

The Simon’s Town Civic Association (STCA) is one of the festival’s sponsors, and its chairman, Simon Metcalfe, said they hoped to improve the cultural life of Simon’s Town for the residents while attracting visitors who are vital to the local economy.

“The festival events are taking place in our historic churches and our mosque. Visitors can attend all the events on foot or take time off, go for a swim, or just amble through the lanes and places of historic interest, including several museums,” he said.

“Too many visitors just stay for a little while on their way to the beaches, penguins and Cape Point. If we want them to stay longer, we need events like the book festival that residents and visitors can enjoy together. We look forward to hosting more art and cultural events in the future.”

The Books on the Bay festival will be run on a non-profit basis as an annual event and will interact with and support local schools and libraries in Simon’s Town, Ocean View, and Masiphumelele.

Tickets cost R60 and can be bought from Webtickets or Pick n Pay.

Visit for more information and a detailed line-up.

The official launch of the Books on the Bay festival will take place on Friday February 10 at St Francis of Assisi Anglican Church in Simon’s Town.