Mervyn Sloman: The Story of a Bookshop – Changing Cape Town’s reading culture

In the first episode of Books Stories People, I talk to Mervyn Sloman, owner of one of Cape Town’s best loved book stores. As a youngster Mervyn had absolutely no idea of what he wanted to be when he grew up – until it became clear that his one ambition was to work in a book shop. This is the story of his journey to realising the dream and finally opening The Book Lounge in 2008. It’s been an interesting, if not always easy ride, but Mervyn’s shop has had a major impact on the readers and writers of Cape Town. So will the Lounge survive a global pandemic? Listen here to find out.


Mervyn Sloman is the owner of the Book Lounge.

Mervyn recommends “The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett.

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Book Stories People is a podcast for people with an appetite for the story behind the story. Whether a book, a play, a movie, poem, song, a blog – or even a tweet, there’s always a back story – more to it than meets the eye. Or the ear. And that’s often where the gold lies. So that’s what I hope to bring you on BSP, the less well-trumpeted tales, the inside intel – from wordsmiths of all disciplines – known, unknown celebrity or completely unheard of. And who am I? You might well ask. Just an independent journalist from the tip of Africa with an appetite for stories that matches your own. Nancy Richards, yours in stories.

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Lesley Beake: Once Upon a Time – Writing for children

Putting her beliefs into action Lesley herself has written and published over 90 books – some of which have won and been nominated for awards including the Sir Percy Fitzpatrick and Hans Christian Anderson Awards. Born in Scotland and based now in South Africa, all her stories are set in Africa, from picture books for the very young, to teen novels YA, and notably for readers for whom English is a second, third, or even fourth language. But most importantly she’s passing on the skill, because Lesley TEACHES writing – for adults, and for children. In her Writing Life courses, also one of the co-founders of the Children s Book Network. But it’s often assumed writing for children is so much easier than writing for adults – so, is it?

Tiisetso Mashifane – A Play Reading On Race

With a gestation period of many years, bright young theatrical Tiisetso Mashifane has created a play about two women that cuts right to the race quick. The debut of ‘Delela’ as a reading revealed still more for both audience and author.

Dbongz & Alexandre Tilmans – Art in the Open

For the 5th year The International Public Art Festival took place recently in Cape Town with 20 local and international artists bringing the walls of the city to life. Members of the public were invited to walk, run, cycle or skateboard the different routes, and in some cases get lucky seeing the art in action.

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