It is (virtual) National Book Week here in South Africa. This literary event is usually held from 2 to 8 September but, due to COVID-19, is being marked from 7 to 13September.
The South African Book Development Council (SABDC) hosts the event in partnership with the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture. It follows hot on the heels of International Literacy Day on 8 September.
National Book Week is about more than literacy as it encourages the nation to value reading in daily life. It promotes leisure reading for all ages, inspiring more people to read for entertainment and enjoyment.
National Book Week
The theme for the 2020 National Book Week is Passport to Tomorrow. With this theme, the SABDC aims to spread a message of hope and the promise of our tomorrow. It sees this as vital for these pandemic times.
On the National Book Week website, the SABDC has a full programme. This includes frequent live streams on Facebook and YouTube, story time for children and motivational talks for teenagers and young adults.
South African Book Fair
National Book Week coincides with the annual South African Book Fair which is from 11 to 13 September.
This book fair, also run by the SABDC, is committed to transformation and development in the book sector. It strives to create unity through reading and writing.
The 2020 fair is, like National Book Week, virtual and will include more than 80 featured authors.
These include writing legends like Abi Daré who wrote New York Times Bestseller The Girl with the Louding Voice. Jacob Dlamini who won the 2015 Alan Paton Award for Native Nostalgia and Askari, is also on the programme.
The first was established in 2006 and has since become a hub of literary creation and appreciation. It is a space – physical or digital –where readers and authors come together.
As well as having books for sale, the SABF has a jam-packed line-up with content for children and adults. You can buy tickets at R50 on the South African Book Fair website.
A ticket will give access to all three days’ events and activities, via a unique stream access code. You also will receive a link to access the book fair’s virtual event platform where you can interact with authors and exhibitors.