The South African Book Fair is happening from 31 July to 2 August at Turbine Hall, Newtown. Why is it a biggie? Well, on the programme, there will be more than 100 authors, plus fun activities for kids, and, of course, an exhibition full of books to buy.
According to organisers, there will be an illustration station (with a different illustrator on the hour every hour), reading areas, colouring in and activity sheets of our favourite book characters, and a storytelling corner with stories being read throughout the day. There will also be a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the timeless children’s classic Alice in Wonderland with a Mad Hatters Tea Party.
Friday 31 July is geared specifically for school and educator visits, offering all of the above plus a literary programme.
Highlights of the programme include (and there are a lot of them – scroll down for the kids’ programme):
● Wonderwoman -At a kids event, Lauren Beukes will be reading her Wonder Woman comic with art by Mike Maihack. “The Trouble With Cats” in DC’s Sensation #9 sees Wonder Woman racing to save Batman and Superman from her arch-enemy, Cheetah on a mythical island off the coast of Mozambique. But the story takes a twist to Soweto where a young girl has to find her own inner heroine and use the power of her imagination to save the day. This event is suitable for kids aged 5 and up and includes a brief talk on how comics are made. Grown-up comic fans welcome too. Dressing up as a superhero is encouraged!
● Twenty-one born frees are asked what 21 years of democracy means; Melanie Verwoerd and Sonwabiso Ngcawo discuss the answers in 21 at 21.
● Seduced! – Dr Eve explores a new threat to marriages and relationships – cyberinfidelity.
● Black and White in Colour – Why race (still) matters – Lewis Gordon, Melanie Verwoerd & Xolela Mangcu, chaired by Shireen Hassim. In conjunction with the M & G Literary Festival.
● How imagination can change the world – Uno de Waal, winner of top African Blogger Award for Arts And Culture, chats to ad-men John Hunt, Mark Winkler & Khaya Dlanga about the power and magic of the imagination.
● Africa is a continent of opportunity and potential. Publishing in Africa discusses the challenges and opportunities of trading books in the Global South.
● It’s Reading, But Not As You Know It – Mike Mophoto, the man behind Diary of a Zulu Girl, Rebecca Davis & Nancy Brown from World Reader, explore fun and different ways of getting South Africans reading. With Karabo Kgoleng-Dada.
● The books you read say a lot about who you are – Novelists Niq Mhlongo, Finuala Dowling & Rehana Rossouw discover South Africa’s Bookself. Chaired by Karabo Kgoleng-Dada.
● Die opkoms van die vigilante in Lekkerkunde – Peet Venter en die krimisibbe, Dibi and Henk Breytenbach, filosofeer al drie oor die rol van die vigilante in hulle boeke. Ons sien dikwels hoe die howe skynbaar faal, maar wat is die alternatief?
● Shorts – Siphiwo Mahala talks to Ivan Vladislavic, Achmat Dangor & Masande Ntshanga about the art of the short story.
● Books, boys and beers – Gareth Crocker, Khaya Dlanga & Pete Goffe-Wood share their bromance with Ndumiso Ngcobo over craft beers, as they discuss the meaning of life and friendship. Snacks included.
● Future Perfect – Transforming Joburg from apartheid city to a city for all – David Everatt, Nechama Brodie and others. Chaired by Rashid Seedat in conjunction with the M & G Literary Festival.
But that’s not everything, we’ve got poetry and scriptwriting masterclasses, panel discussions, workshops and lectures, all involving leading writers, editors and publishers from South Africa and the world. If you are wanting to enter the writing and publishing industry, we’ve geared a significant part of the programme towards new talent, so there are plenty of workshops to help you on your way. Some of these include:
● Publishing in Indigenous Languages – Elinor Sisulu, NLSA and PUO discuss children’s literature publishing in indigenous languages and how to achieve this quantum leap. Facilitated by the Puku Children’s Literature Foundation.
● Editing Workshop – This 50-minute hands-on workshop provides insight into whether editing is meant for you.
● Get published – Get the inside scoop on taking your book from manuscript to publication. Mark Winkler talks about how he broke through the lit barrier, and numerous publishers give their tips and suggestions about digital versus physical choices and how to get published.
● Scriptwriting stories – Masterclass with screenwriting legends Fred Strydom and Harry Kalmer.
● Ever dreamt of expressing yourself through poetry? – In “Poetry masterclass” with Finuala Dowling & Beverly Rycroft, you’ll find there’s more to poetry than finding a word to rhyme with orange.
Whether you’ve got kids of your own or are simply indulging your inner child, our Children’s Zone is a must-visit destination. There are readings throughout each day and the event schedule is packed with new adventures and experiences in The Alice Room:
● Hello, Hugless Douglas! – Join the creator himself, David Melling – all the way from the UK – as he reads his delightful story, shares the history and making of the huggable Douglas and shows how he comes to life. Suitable for 3 – 6 year olds.
● Be taken on a magical tour of African folktales by famed storyteller, Gcina Mhlophe.
● Jurassic Park is coming to Joburg – In “Dem Bones” children can listen to the best dino tales, meet a real paleontologist and dig for bones.
● Beautiful me! – Join Alan Glass, the creator of Beautiful Creatures and Oliver’s Outline, as he talks and sings about self-esteem and loving yourself. For ages 6+
● Books and ballet – come dance with words! – Every little girl, at some point, dreams of being a ballerina. In collaboration with the Joburg Ballet, enjoy a ballet story and mini class with a real ballerina who will tell you all about life behind the curtain.
● Become a detective for a day! – Join Jenny Crwys Williams, Elizabeth Wasserman & Dog-detective Willem on a mystery solving adventure. You’ll also get to win books for your school library, learn how to train your own dog-detective and get a photo of yourself taken with a guide dog.
● A dress-up Mad Hatter’s Tea Party – In celebration of Alice in Wonderland’s 150th anniversary and the launch of Alice in IsiZulu, with readings in both English and IsiZulu. The Queen of Tarts, Tina Bester, will be serving it up and prizes for the best-dressed are on the cards. The guest list includes the Gruffalo, Wally, Floppy, Peter Rabbit and more. It promises to be the grand finale to the SA Book Fair.