Open The Door 2023

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What is Open the Door?

In 2017, we launched our very first literary festival, Open the Door, a bold, ambitious celebration of women’s writing, reading and creativity. Since then, Open the Door has been brimful of convivial conversations, fresh perspectives and outstanding talent.

Open the Door is unique; it is a festival that breaks down the barriers between writers and readers and generates poignant, important discussions. The title of the festival comes from Catherine Carswell’s classic work of fiction and we want to create open doors into the worlds of reading and writing through every event and conversation.

Festival Theme

Our theme for 2023 is Writers/Activists, and we’re delighted to be partnering with Woman Zone in Cape Town, and the African Writers Trust in Kampala.

We’ll be celebrating three ground-breaking, historic writers: Iona McGregor, Scottish LGBTQI+ activist and author of lesbian novel Death Wore a Diadem; South African author Miriam Tlali, one of the first people to write about Soweto, whose work was banned under the apartheid regime; and Rose Mbowa, playwright, director and actor, who passionately believed in theatre’s role in freedom of speech in Uganda.

Our much-loved Calm Slam competition will be back, bringing you joy and inspiration, you can listen to and watch this years finalists here, and we have some wonderful events in the planning, including workshops, conversations, Story Cafés and celebrations, an exhibition of work by illustration students from Dundee’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, we will be showcasing Jackie Kay’s remarkable poem A life in Protest and inviting your responses, and lots of other exciting ways to get involved.

Open the Door will be stretching out across the whole of our 2023 programmes – so watch this space!

Images: (L-R) Iona McGregor by Teigan Johnson, Rose Mbowa by Niamh Critchley, Miriam Tlali by Eve Downer

Events at a Glance

Chitra Ramaswamy Reading event, Saturday 29th April, 1.30pm – 3pm, in person at GWL, Book here

African Writers Trust Story Café Special, Wednesday 3rd May, 1pm to 2.30pm UK/3pm to 4.30pm EAT, online, Book Here

Making a Living as a Writer: What Are Your Rights? Friday 5th May, 2pm to 4pm, in person at GWL Book Here

Story Café and Open Archive: Cathy McCormack’s War Without Bullets, Thursday 1st June, 5pm to 7pm, Free, in person at GWL, Book here

Towards a Green Library, Thursday 29th June, 6pm – 7.30pm, Book Here

Horties at Forty: Herstories of Campaigning for Peace, Saturday 5th August, 12noon – 4pm, Book Here

How To Protest, Thursday 10th August, Book Here

Postcard Propaganda and Women’s Suffrage, Tuesday 29th August, Book Here

More event announcements coming soon!

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