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The Not the London Book Fair Rocks the Book Lounge

Building Crowd

It was a spectacular event, a perfectly-tossed last-minute literary salad with readings, panel discussions, the filming of a special message for the London Book Fair, and much more.

While the Leopard’s Leap camera crew interviewed stranded writers and publishers in the basement of the Book Lounge, the Not the London Book Fair organising committee, Helen Moffett, Mervyn Sloman and myself, sprinted through a build-up like no other, creating a gigantic “stand” on the Lounge’s main floor, setting up liveblogging facilities, and putting the finishing touches on the evening’s programme.

We began with a special message from the London Book Fair – filmed that very day – which touched everyone who couldn’t make the big event very deeply:

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Poet Antjie Krog opened the NTLBF with a deeply moving reading of a new, as-yet untitled poem, then joined Imraan Coovadia – who also read, from a new short story – and Victor Dlamini for a discussion, expertly guided by Dlamini, of the state of contemporary South African letters and its intertwinedness, or otherwise, with current SA politics.

Antjie KrogImraan Coovadia, Antjie Krog, Victor DlaminiImraan Coovadia, Antjie Krog, Helen Moffett, Victor DlaminiLiesl JobsonKopano Matlwa, Fiona Snyckers, Colleen HiggsFiona SnyckersKopano MatlwaPhakama Mbonambi, Ben Williams and Arthur Attwell at the #ntlbf #lbf10

Further readings by Liesl Jobson, Kopano Matlwa and Fiona Snyckers led to a panel on women’s writing featuring Matlwa, Snyckers and Colleen Higgs of Modjaji Books. Moffett chaired, and we learned much about the shape and direction of women’s fiction in South Africa – and heard heartbreaking tales of dashed LBF plans.

Finally, I took the microphone for a chat with two of the most inspiring people on the SA books scene, Phakama Mbonambi of Wordsetc magazine and Arthur Attwell of Electric Book Works. We talked print vs digital – keeping it short, although like other literary geeks we could have keep the audience there until well into the wee hours.

In the meantime, BOOK SA‘s Sophy Kohler frantically livetweeted the entire evening’s proceedings. Catch up with the Not the London Book Fair via Twitter search.

The audience was typical for the Book Lounge, spilling right out the doors into the chilly Cape night. An after party at the nearby Kimberly Hotel carried on, in true London Book Fair fashion, until the birds started chirping.

Special thanks to Victor Dlamini, Fiona Snyckers, Kopano Matlwa and Phakama Mbonambi for travelling down down from Johannesburg – and to Incwadi‘s Ingrid Andersen for making the even longer trek from KZN.

It wasn’t the London Book Fair, but it was a spectacular jol! Here are liveblogged video clips from the do.

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Gallery

Fwd: #ntlbf #lbf10 Build up at Not the London Book Fair w/Etienne van  Heerden#ntlbf #lbf10 Build up at Not the London Book Fair w/Colleen Higgs &  Arthur Attwell#ntlbf #lbf10 Build up at Not the London Book Fair w/Ben Williams#ntlbf #lbf10 Build up at Not the London Book Fair#ntlbf #lbf10 Build up at Not the London Book Fair w/food from Kalk  Bay Books' The Annex#ntlbf #lbf10 Build up at Not the London Book Fair w/Mervyn Sloman#ntlbf #lbf10 Build up at Not the London Book Fair w/Willemien de  Villiers#ntlbf #lbf10 Build up at Not the London Book Fair w/Imraan Coovadia#ntlbf #lbf10 Build up at Not the London Book Fair#ntlbf #lbf10 Build up at Not the London Book Fair w/ @VictorDlamini#ntlbf #lbf10 Build up at Not the London Book Fair w/Phakama Mbonambi#ntlbf #lbf10 Build up at Not the London Book Fair w/Imraan Coovadia,  @VictorDlamini, Antjie KrogAntjie Krog reading at the #ntlbf #lbf10Imraan Coovadia reaading at the #ntlbf #lbf10Imraan Coovadia, Antjie Krog, Victor Dlamini live at the #ntlbf #lbf10Liesl Jobson reading at the #ntlbf #lbf10Victor Dlamini with his new/old medium format camera at the end of the #ntlbf #lbf10Ingrid Andersen and Fiona Snyckers at the #ntlbf in Cape Town #lbf10#ntlbf #lbf10 Build up at Not the London Book Fair w/Helen Moffett

 

Recent comments:

  • Mervyn
    Mervyn
    April 20th, 2010 @09:27 #
     
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    Thanks to everyone who contributed to a brilliant evening. And special thanks to the Kimberley hotel barstaff for finally kicking us out. I have a vague troubling memory involving Ben, a jukebox and Michael Jackson.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    April 20th, 2010 @09:28 #
     
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    Brilliant work, everyone!

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  • <a href="http://ingridandersen.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Ingrid Andersen</a>
    Ingrid Andersen
    April 20th, 2010 @09:58 #
     
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    Congratulations are due to Ben, Helen, Mervyn and all who made last night happen. There was such a feeling of triumph over what I have now started calling "the ashversity" of being stranded here - and a sense of celebration of our literary talent. What an evening!

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    April 20th, 2010 @10:13 #
     
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    Thanks to all who made it! Was a blast, man :)

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    April 20th, 2010 @10:27 #
     
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    It was indeed a blast from our local literary volcano. Seeing the pics brings home what amazing support we got from the local book-loving peeps of CT. And the schelebrations afterwards were grand, too -- Fifi and I escaped before our livers or any jukeboxes were harmed. I prescribe LOTS of rooibos tea for Ben the Brilliant and Mervyn the Magnificent.

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  • <a href="http://kathrynwhite.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Kathryn</a>
    Kathryn
    April 20th, 2010 @10:30 #
     
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    Those are the pictures I want to see! The end of the night party ones ..

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  • Mervyn
    Mervyn
    April 20th, 2010 @10:50 #
     
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    Rooibos? You're funny. Helen the Hilarious.

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  • <a href="http://www.modjajibooks.co.za" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    Colleen
    April 20th, 2010 @10:53 #
     
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    It was wonderful! Loved seeing how many people were mobilised so quickly and how efficiently it all worked. I kept meaning to help you with chairs Mervyn, at the end, but didn't get there. Thanks so much esp to Mervy and your fabulous staff, to Ben and Helen and Ann Donald. And of course to all the others who spoke and those who came along and to Leopard's Leap for the wine. Wow, we were all fabulous last night.

    I felt ill during the day - as though I was coming down with flu, temperature and aches etc, I took Dr Moffett's advice and went to bed after taking various meds and slept all day and afternoon, apart from a bit of reading Anne of Green Gables when my daughter came home from school. But the evening was so full of vibrant positive energy that today I feel much better. So thanks for the medicinal effect of the CT book community.

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  • sherryh8@gmail.com
    sherryh8@gmail.com
    April 20th, 2010 @15:18 #
     
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    Well done! Three cheers for you all.

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    April 21st, 2010 @13:35 #
     
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    An important query from Nadia Davids and Henrietta Rose-Innes at the NTLBF Facebook wall; please read:

    http://www.facebook.com/booksa?v=wall#!/event.php?eid=114551795240464&ref=ts

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    April 22nd, 2010 @13:16 #
     
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    Check it! A transcript of a Reuters TV piece that mentions the NTLBF:

    http://www.facebook.com/booksa/posts/120154304666909

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  • <a href="http://www.joannehichens.co.za" rel="nofollow">Joanne</a>
    Joanne
    April 22nd, 2010 @13:20 #
     
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    It was a really great evening, such spirit, such tenacity, even mother nature can't keep an SA writer down! Way to go all!

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    April 22nd, 2010 @13:24 #
     
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    Hey, that Reuters transcript is really cool.

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  • <a href="http://www.amillionmilesfromnormal.blogspot.com" rel="nofollow">Paige</a>
    Paige
    April 24th, 2010 @12:05 #
     
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    it was amazing thanks for organising. i loved it.

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  • BritishArtist
    BritishArtist
    June 2nd, 2010 @18:25 #
     
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    Congratulations on organizing a stupendous event. Video clips and readings were awesome. Thanks so much for providing all of the material on your site. The conventional wisdom these days is that readers seek out inspirational books during “hard times.” I saw evidence of this at another book fair, where the area dedicated to spirituality seemed pretty crowded. I was given a preview copy of C.J. Good’s – “Little Gifts of Sustainable Contentment,” -- One minute daily reflections for cultivating mental, emotional, physical and financial well-being – Available on Amazon August – 2010 – which contains encouraging, true and perhaps most importantly, heartfelt writing. I believe readers seeking guidance and solace during difficult times can not go wrong buying this book for themselves or as a gift for others. This is a book that is effective, wise and compassionate. It is a striking example of drawing strength from the natural reversals that we all face and using them to develop resilience.

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    June 3rd, 2010 @07:32 #
     
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    RAS!

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