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Nobel Prize-winning Author to Appear at Open Book Festival

The French writer Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 2008, will attend Cape Town’s inaugural Open Book festival this September, the organisers announced today.

Considered by many to be the greatest living French-language writer, Le Clézio is the author of more than thirty books, including novels, travel writing, collections of essays and short stories, and books for children. He is perhaps best known for Désert, which tells of an uprising by the Touareg against French colonials in Morocco. In announcing his Nobel award, the Swedish Academy called him “an author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity below and beyond the reigning civilization.”

Le Clézio will be joined, from the French-speaking world, by well-known French-Ivorian writer Véronique Tadjo, currently based in Johannesburg, and Alain Mabanckou, author of the brilliant and disturbing African Psycho. Tadjo’s first novel, As the Crow Flies, was re-published by Penguin as part of its African Writers Series, under the editorial direction of Chinua Achebe. Mabanckou’s highly-anticipated latest book, Memoirs of a Porcupine, will be available in South Africa later this year.

The formidable literary trio appear courtesy of the French Institute, the cultural agency of the French Embassy in South Africa.

“We were thrilled when we heard of the French Institute’s interest in participating in Open Book,” said festival director Mervyn Sloman, who is also proprietor of The Book Lounge, Cape Town’s popular independent bookshop. “And doubly-so when they told us who they had in mind to attend. That we’ve secured these three writers is a huge boon for our city’s lovers of great literature.”

Le Clézio, Tadjo and Mabanckou will appear alongside the likes of Jeannette Winterson, Paul Harding and Hari Kunzru at Open Book, which runs from 21 to 25 September at The Fugard Theatre and other city venues.

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