Mary Oliver – A tribute in translation


Mary Oliver was a moon poet whose task was to observe, and then ‘reflect our place among the family of things’. She didn’t need to shine on her own account, her job was to be ‘married to amazement’, to notice, to pay attention, to ‘witness the cycles’, and ‘by morning to have vanished a thousand times into something better’. Her vocation was ‘to tell about it’, and this she did with a dazzling radiance that helps us to see things we might have missed.

Please join us as Sandra Hill reads some of Mary Oliver’s best loved poems, while Ilze Olckers reflects them back in Afrikaans, inviting them into a South African language and landscape.You’re welcome to bring your own favourite Mary Oliver poem to share.

Kalk Bay Books, Tuesday 11 February at 18:00 for 18:30. RSVP ESSENTIAL: Call us on 0217882266 or email


The Big Move…

from here to here

… Is finally happening! But it’s really just a little move, next door. Away from the southeaster and the thundering trucks, into the cosy spot up the alley.

We’ll be closed for moving from Monday 26 August until Thursday 29 August, and open again in the new shop from Friday 30 August.

Pop in on Sunday 1 September for spring flowers and chocolates, buy a book and  enter our lucky draw. See you there.

Getting the new space ready!


John Maytham: Being Human – An evening of poetry to live by – 23 July 2019

We’re delighted to present Being Human – An evening of poetry to live by, with John Maytham.

Tickets are R100.

DETAILS: Kalk Bay Books, Tuesday 23 July 2019 at 18:45 for 19:15 (please note the unusual starting time)
BOOKINGS: Seats are limited so booking is absolutely essential. Please email and we will reply with payment details and confirmation.

To be human is to experience love, war, loss, joy, suffering and grief. Being human means being vulnerable, strong, funny, enraged, anxious and confused. Above all, it involves a quest for meaning.

Drawing on a range of poets from Billy Collins to Jane Kenyon, Dylan Thomas to Elizabeth Bishop, Michael Rosen to Derek Walcott, John Maytham reads poetry that reflects the many facets of our humanity, in a script compiled by Finuala Dowling.

Wine for the evening is generously supplied by Leopard’s Leap.

Curator & Crusader by Mike Bruton – 9 July 2019

D7o8FXpXsAAqFnVWe launch Curator and Crusader by Mike Bruton published by Footprint Press. Mike will be in conversation with Dr Graham Avery, retired senior palaeoanthropologist from Iziko.

DETAILS: Tuesday 9th July at 6 for 6.30pm
RSVP: Please email or call us on 021 788 2266

Continue reading “Curator & Crusader by Mike Bruton – 9 July 2019”

Poacher – Kimon de Greef chats to Mark Gevisser – 4 July 2019

poacher-kimon-de-greef-196x300*UPDATE: THIS EVENT IS NOW FULLY BOOKED – WE ARE AT CAPACITY.*

Next week, we discuss Poacher by Kimon de Greef and Shuhood Abader, published by NB.

“A stunning achievement. A classic South African narrative that includes questions of race, place, politics and morality. Intimate and wide-ranging, superbly researched and superbly written…” – Richard Poplak

DETAILS: Thursday 4 July at 18:00 for 18:30, Kalk Bay Books
RSVP ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL before 2 July: email or call us on 021 788 2266

Continue reading “Poacher – Kimon de Greef chats to Mark Gevisser – 4 July 2019”

Xhosa Lite, with Tessa Dowling & Jeremy Blackburn – 18 June 2019


If your New Year’s resolution in 1997 was to learn Xhosa but you still haven’t got round to it because you live in Kalk Bay and most of your time is taken up dodging sea urchins in a tidal pool, buying pastries at the Olympia or hiding from the tourists in Kalk Bay books, this is the show for you.

In Xhosa Lite, veteran UCT Xhosa lecturer and former Kalk Bay local Tessa Dowling, teams up with theatre supremo Jeremy Blackburn to teach you some basic Xhosa while you laugh. A highlight of the show will be the classic and hilarious piece, Muizenberg Bridge, penned by Tessa’s sister, the internationally recognized and award-winning poet and novelist, Finuala Dowling.

In a presentation finely balanced between the didactic and the comedic, you’ll come away with a few simple Xhosa phrases – not the usual ones! – that will help you moan about life in Cape Town, with more panache.

Tickets are R60.
DETAILS: Kalk Bay Books, Tuesday 18 June at 18:00 for 18:30
Booking is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL as seats are limited and this event will sell out fast. We are now fully booked, sorry!

Please email or call 021 788 2266 for your ticket.

Vuvuzela Dawn by Luke Alfred & Ian Hawkey – 11 June 2019

We launch Vuvuzela Dawn by Luke Alfred and Ian Hawkey, published by Pan Macmillan

‘A fresh spotlight on an exhilarating journey, and some much-needed reminders of how sport has enriched lives and opened minds in South Africa over the last 25 years.’ – Lucas Radebe

DETAILS: Kalk Bay Books, Tuesday 11 June at 18:00 for 18:30
RSVP: please email or call us on 0217882266

Continue reading “Vuvuzela Dawn by Luke Alfred & Ian Hawkey – 11 June 2019”

Madame Curie – a life-changing biography – 14 May 2019

We are honoured to welcome Professor Anwar Mall as he talks about Marie Curie. Please join us in learning more about this indomitable and persevering spirit.

DETAILS: Tuesday 14 May at 18:00 for 18:30 at Kalk Bay Books, 124 Main Road, Kalk Bay
RSVP: Please email or call us on 021 788 2266.

Continue reading “Madame Curie – a life-changing biography – 14 May 2019”