The 2023 South African Jewish Literary Festival (JLF) will be our fourth since its 2016 inception and we are so excited to be back in person after JLF 2020 was forced online during the Covid-19 onslaught.

Based in the Western Cape, which is considered the book festival province, the JLF complements other literary offerings like the Franschhoek Literary Festival and the Open Book Festival, by offering a jam-packed day of presentations and discussions for anyone who loves books, Jewish literature, culture and conversation. For such a small community remaining in South Africa, we really do have a relatively large number of authors and writers!

The JLF showcases authors, poets, illustrators, journalists, writers and educators who have a Jewish connection or are engaged with subjects of Jewish interest. This year it will be held at The Gardens Community Campus in the City Bowl area on Human Rights Day.

Sessions will occur simultaneously at various sites on the campus and will include panel discussions, readings, and debates. Themes will depend on the books but include fiction, memoir, politics, academia, journalism, and the arts.


The first ever South African Jewish Literary Festival (JLF) in 2016 was a sold-out success, and JLF has since become a regular event on the communal calendar. The bigger and better JLF 2018 was also sold out with a programme bursting at the seams. For 2020, we adapted our planned programme to a series of zoom sessions, which became JLF@Home.
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Our esteemed authors over the years have included the likes of Mark Gevisser, Damon Galgut, Steven ‘Boykey’ Sidley, Diane Awerbuck, Arthur Goldstuck, Rachel Zadok, Patricia Schonstein, Gail Schimmel, Gus Silber, Richard Poplack, Jonathan Ancer, Joanne Jowell, Rahla Xenopoulos, John Matisonn, and Mandy Weiner. Moderators have included Nancy Richards, Lisa Chait and Helen Moffett, who brought their expertise and connections into the mix. International guests have included Avraham Infeld from Israel; Thomas Harding, Jonny Steinberg and Jill Edelstein from the UK; and Jennifer Friedman from Australia.