The 2020 edition of the SA Book Fair is going ahead, but this time around it will be a virtual event to be held from September 11-13 as the culmination of National Book Week.
Organisers the SA Book Development Council says it is as committed as ever to “promoting the power and joy of books and reading, as well as to showcase, support, connect and provide a trading platform for the industry to ensure that books and reading stayed within people’s consciousness”.
The reimagined 2020 fair will place the emphasis on “providing a relevant, immersive and engaging virtual experience for readers, book lovers, authors, illustrators, poets and members of the book and publishing industry” via a specially developed online platform.
The new-look event will offer an exciting programme of discussions, entertainment and fun to ensure something for everyone. It will include poetry sessions, author-led panel discussions, skills development workshops, an industry marketplace and the beloved National Book Week Magic Tent.
This popular part of the fair will offer kids a carefully curated programme of online storytelling, poetry sessions, writing and illustration workshops as well as motivational talks, and puppet and theatre shows.
Among the new highlights of the 2020 fair will be a bespoke Battle of the Bookclubs literature quiz which will start during August, with the semifinal and finals taking place during the actual fair.
The virtual fair will include more than 23 expert and author-led panels or sessions covering topical issues — and with the books to match.
Some of these sessions include the topics of feminism; race and identity; relationships and erotica; crime; food; travel; sci-fi; economics and poetry.
The book fair’s marketplace will also move online, making it possible for exhibitors to reach a wider audience.
“Supporting, connecting and showcasing the publishing industry during the enormous challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic is a key focus of this year’s event,” the organisers say.
As part of building a reflective and representative SA and African literary culture, 26 beneficiaries have been selected for exhibition subsidies.
A further 13 beneficiaries will join them for training that is part of an SMME skills development initiative by the Fibre Processing and Manufacturing Seta, which funds an ongoing development programme and supports the fair.
Further details and the full programme will be announced during August, with ticket sales set to go live soon.
For more information visit https://www.southafricanbookfair.co.za