Catch The Open Book Festival

WORDS Debbie Loots

With more than 100 local and international authors taking part in Cape Town’s Open Book Festival at the Fugard Theatre from 17 to 21 September, we are mostly amped not to miss award-winning illustrator and designer Joey Hi-Fi talking about his crazy book cover designs.

Clear out your bookshelves and save your bucks, because this year’s fourth Open Book Festival promises variety like never before. Think famous local and international authors, poets, performance artists, illustrators and designers, all gathered to talk about and share their work.

For the serious bunch, there’s discussions by stalwarts Jonathan Jansen, Ari Sitas and Kader Abdolah to look forward to, while Wilber Smith, André P. Brink and Imraan Coovadia will surely light up those literary hearts with their talks.

You can also get with the poetry program and check out the performance The Buckfever Underground and Friends, featuring our very own poet in the house, VISI features editor Bibi Slippers. She’ll share the stage with Toast Coetzer, Danie Marais, Shirmoney Rhode and Jaco van Schalkwyk. And don’t forget the Comic Fest on 20 and 21 September too.

Then there’s our favourite: Joey Hi-Fi, the alter ego of award-winning illustrator and designer Dale Halvorsen. He who is famous for his stunning book cover collaborations with author Lauren Beukes, Imraan Coovadia and Charlie Human, among others.

We wondered how many of the books he designed covers for he’s read and liked, so we asked him.  “I’ve been lucky,” he says. “I’ve never had to design a cover for a book I didn’t like in some way! I love stories. I also have massive respect for anyone who has written a book. So I don’t let my personal tastes determine the level of effort I put into a cover. I always endeavour to give any book I work on a striking cover. I also choose the projects I work on carefully. I’ve turned down covers in the past that I have felt I wasn’t the right fit for.”

For more on Joey Hi-Fi’s work process, catch his gig, Do Judge a Book by its Cover on 21 September between 10am and 11am.

Download the full Festival programme at