The programme for the fifth annual National Book Week, which will take place from 1 to 7 September, has been revealed.
For the first time, the event will feature a “travelling bus” and a week-long tour around six provinces, during which National Book Week ambassadors, motivational speakers, authors and storytellers will visit towns from Ganyesa in the North West Province to Worcester in the Western Cape.
The slogan for the 2014 National Book Week is “Going Places”, with an emphasis on encouraging reading as a “fun activity”. Events will focus on promoting literature in indigenous languages, local authors as well as library awareness and access.
As part of the South African Book Development Council‘s (SABDC) Indigenous Languages Publishing Programme, every child or adult that “engages” with the National Book Week tour will receive a new book in the language of their region, with 9 000 books to be handed out.
In addition, the final Twenty in 20 stories, a collaboration between Books LIVE, Short Story Day Africa and the Department of Arts and Culture, will be launched as a new anthology. Find out more about the project and see the final twenty stories here.
Elitha van der Sandt, CEO of the SABDC, says: “In South Africa, the book is one of the most under-utilised tools to contribute to economic, social and educational empowerment. Reading a book has the power to transform the individual, the community and the country at large. Reading remains one of the few ways in which we access information. We need information to thrive in this world.
“Accessing that information allows us to make more informed decisions about our lives. It allows us to actively participate in the economy, in all aspects of life.
“National Book Week will therefore take the power of the book to many places. As the bus will be going places, so shall we be promoting the magic of the books to our diverse people, allowing them to go to faraway places, dreams, agonies and accomplishments of cultures everywhere.
Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa believes books could play a crucial role in his department’s Mzansi Golden Economy strategy, which aims to create 5 million jobs over the next 10 years.
“The importance of reading in order to achieve success in life is foundational for the individual and essential for nation building and social cohesion,” Mthethwa says. “The Department of Arts and Culture’s Mzansi Golden Economy strategy recognises the power of the books sector to contribute to job creation, poverty reduction, skills development and, above all, economic growth. Thus as such, the National Book Week is a strategic intervention to promote a reading culture that will enhance the prominence and socio-economic impact of the South African books sector both locally and globally.”
2014 National Book Week programme preview: