Welcome to Books on the Bay: The Simon’s Town Literary Festival

Simon’s Town’s historical richness and natural beauty make it the ideal venue for a literary festival. A true tavern of the seas, around every corner there is a story to tell. The setting for bestselling fiction, Simon’s Town and the far south is home to a number of South Africa’s most renowned authors.

Books on the Bay takes an open-ended approach to curating the festival. With an emphasis on creativity, we avoid prescribing topics for discussion by our authors. Headlines are light touch or chosen by the authors themselves.   

Books on the Bay will be run on a non-profit basis, as an annual event.


David Attwell, Professor Emeritus, University of York, where he was Head of the Department of English and Related Literature. He is now Extraordinary Professor at the University of the Western Cape. A teacher, literary critic, and historian of South African literature, his books include J.M. Coetzee and the Life of Writing, a finalist for the Alan Paton Prize; The Cambridge History of South African Literature, co-edited with Derek Attridge; Rewriting Modernity: Studies in Black South African Literary History; and Bury Me at the Marketplace, the collected letters of Es’kia Mphahlele, co-edited with Chabani Manganyi.

Karin Cronje, an author whose novels and memoir have earned her critical acclaim. She has worked as a journalist, in publishing, and most recently as a lecturer in the Music Literacy Department at Stellenbosch University.

Darryl David, maverick extraordinaire. Darryl is the most experienced pioneer of book festivals in South Africa – over the years he has curated more than a hundred. Many are in far-flung areas of the Karoo, such as in Richmond, that fairytale town Darryl branded as Africa’s only Book Town. BookBedonnerd, the book festival there is one of the most joyous festivals around. Darryl also managed against all expectations to have the city of Durban elevated to a Unesco City of Literature and Hermanus to a Unesco City of Gastronomy. Both Unesco projects were firsts on the African continent. David is the author of three coffee-table books on country churches of South Africa. And he may well be the only Indian lecturer of Afrikaans in Africa.

We are delighted to have Clarke’s Bookshop as the festival’s bookselling partner.

Donate to less privileged children in rural schools with Books on the Bay and Panties for Africa.Learn more