The South African Book Fair, previously known as the Cape Town Book Fair, takes place in June 2014.
Wordweaver is Namibia’s first dedicated publisher of fiction, and has produced 17 titles so far, winning two gold awards at the Namibian Children’s Book Forum. Through a recent deal with Blue Weaver, a South African distribution company, their titles should soon be more widely available to South African readers.
Wordweaver Publishing House, Namibia’s first dedicated fiction publisher, has received a grant from the Goethe-Institut in Johannesburg to attend the South African Book Fair in June 2014.
Wordweaver is a small independent publishing house, which has published 17 titles to date and won two gold awards at the Namibian Children’s Book Forum. The company has also just signed a distribution contract with South African distributors, Blue Weaver, which will make the books easily accessible to residents of South Africa.
In response to the difficulties faced by Namibian writers of fiction to have their work published, Bryony van der Merwe launched Wordweaver Publishing House in March 2012. She was backed by over 10 years of experience in the Namibian publishing industry and the conviction that Namibian fiction warranted a worldwide audience.
This adventurous new publishing house was inaugurated by launching three skilfully designed books with eye-catching covers: Dante International, a thriller by Sharon Kasanda; Bullies, Beasts and Beauties, an anthology of short stories by Sylvia Schlettwein and Isabella Morris; and Hakahana, a compilation of poetry and photography by Hugh Ellis.
Since then Wordweaver’s range has widened to include several illustrated books for children, a publication in German, and This is Not a Flowerpot, a novel by Amy Schoeman. A publishing highlight in 2013 was Elves and Feathered Friends, a beautifully illustrated children’s book by Isabel Eckleben, followed by The Kupferberg Mining Company, a gripping thriller by Johan Beyers, and Mama Namibia, a historical novel by Mari Serebov. In 2013 Wordweaver launched its first magazine, In Season, Namibia’s first green lifestyle publication.
Thus Wordweaver is contributing distinctively and dynamically to the publishing scene in Namibia, giving voice to new young writers in all genres and from all walks of life. This is particularly important since in the past there has been scant support for writers of fiction, whether for adults or for children, as the major local publishers concentrated, and still do, on school textbooks.
Titles published by Wordweaver include This is Not a Flowerpot (Amy Schoeman); Welwitschia’s World (Joh Henschel); Dante International (Sharon Kasanda); A Beginner’s Guide to Ageing (Jean Fischer); The Kupferberg Mining Company (Johan Beyers); When You Dance with the Crocodile (Erna Muller) and Mama Namibia (Mari Serebrov).
For more information about the other titles published by this dynamic house, visit their website www.wordweaverpublishing.com or visit their stall at the South African Book Fair.
Last night at the Open Book Cape Town literary festival, Liesl Jobson covered two events: Derrick Higginbotham’s conversation with NoViolet Bulaway and “The Shining Boys”, featuring Charlie Human, Alex Latimer and Lauren Beukes.
Here are highlights from the sessions:
NoViolet Bulawayo in conversation with Derrick Higginbotham
Last night, the Fugard Theatre was packed for the evening sessions, featuring Athol Fugard himself, the first Writersports competition and a poetry slam.
Your Correspondent emceed the Writersports event in the Fugard Studio – along with his suit, which stood in as a prop, supplying creative material for the assembled writers all evening. The competition was won by Fiona Snyckers, who beat finalists Will Storr and Imraan Coovadia with a terrific short story – written in just 60 seconds! – set in the Book Lounge and involving the genre of superhero fantasy.
(Your Correspondent and his suit were the superhero, our superpower was twerking, and Mervyn Sloman was the damsel in distress. We’ll see if we can get the winning story for publication here.)
BOOK SA has heard from several reliable sources that the 2011 edition of of the Cape Town Book Fair, scheduled for 16-19 June, has been cancelled. The plan from the CTBF’s stakeholders, the Publishers Association of South Africa (PASA) and the Frankfurt Book Fair, appears to be to re-establish the CTBF on a new footing in 2012, which is also the year that the International Publishers Association will hold its annual meeting in Cape Town. Significantly, however, it’s been learned that the Frankfurt fair organisers are considering withdrawing as PASA’s partners. If this proves to be the case, any 2012 event will require major restructuring.
The 2010 CTBF, although down in numbers from previous fairs – both in terms of visitors and number of publishers attending – was generally considered a success, and, as in previous years, was certainly the highlight of South Africa’s literary calendar. Two Nobel laureates opened the 2010 edition, Desmond Tutu and Wole Soyinka, as covered on BOOK SA.
Note that according to the Cape Town Book Fair homepage, the fair is still listed as scheduled for 2011, so be on the look out for an official announcement from the CTBF in the days ahead. The CTBF blog should also be useful for keeping track of developments. BOOK SA will post updates where appropriate.
Here are excerpts from the letter announcing the cancellation, was sent out to members of PASA this week, from PASA head Brian Wafawarowa:
There is significant confusion in the sector about Cape Town Book Fair and the event this year. Just to re-cap on the process that we have followed this year before I update you on where we are- Following the non-participation of key publishers in last years’ book fair, Frankfurt Book Fair asked me to establish if South African publishers wanted us to continue with the book fair. Preliminary enquiries did not clearly indicate what the position was among publishers. We decided to have open stakeholder workshops on the book fair. [...] Please find herewith the recommendations of the council.
These recommendations were again presented to the shareholders, ie PASA, Frankfurt Book Fair and the board. In addition to the input that was received from the two workshops in Cape Town and Johannesburg, the council took into consideration the fact that by the time of its meeting, many big players at the fair had indicated that they would not be at the fair this year and that they preferred to come to the fair once every two years.
The recommendations were presented to the Executive Committee of PASA, members of the general council, representatives of Frankfurt Book Fair and the board of CTBF.
Two board meetings have been held since the recommendations were circulated. The latest position is as follows:
- There will be no book fair for 2011
- We will work towards re-launching the book fair in 2012, taking advantage of the IPA 2012 Congress to make sure that it will be well attended.
- We will spend the time between now and June 2012 restructuring the fair and considering our relationship with Frankfurt. This will include securing long-term sponsorship of the book fair.
We are preparing a communication to this effect to regular exhibitors and other interested parties.
The format of the fair will depend on the recommendations of the CTBF Council, our relationship and deliberations with Frankfurt and the type of funding that we will secure.
As inferred in Wafawora’s letter, one key reason for the CTBF’s demise/postponement is dwindling support from major publishers. Last year, of South Africa’s “big six” trade publishers, only NB, Jonathan Ball and Pan Macmillan had large stands; Random House Struik and Penguin were absent, and Jacana had a much-reduced presence. As the fair receives the majority of its income from the sale of floor and venue space, if a comeback is to be mounted, the organisers will have to find a model that entices anchor support from all of South Africa’s major publishing players.
Further updates on this story will be posted below.
Alert! Publisher Maskew Miller Longman announced the winners of its 2010 literature awards at the Cape Town Book Fair yesterday evening.
The awards are noted for being open in all eleven of South Africa’s official languages. This year, they were given for novella-length children’s stories.
MML announced five R7500 awards (which also include publication of the books), in Afrikaans, English, isiXhosa, Sepedi and Xitsonga – and also announced a winner in the “illustration” category.
Here’s the press release from MML:
Maskew Miller Longman Literature Awards 2010 winners
Maskew Miller Longman is delighted to announce the winners of its Literature Awards 2010 for Children’s Stories in all official languages. The finalists include both well-known authors such as Carina Diedericks-Hugo, Jelleke Wierenga, Conny Lubisi and Gail Smith, as well as new authors. This year’s competition also included an illustration category.
Maskew Miller Longman places great emphasis on developing new writers and promoting indigenous literature. The Maskew Miller Longman Literature Awards, now in its fourth year, is the only competition to call for entries in all official languages.
To assist new writers in creating stories they could enter in the competition, Maskew Miller Longman ran workshops in several provinces presented by prominent writer Rachelle Greef.
The quality of many of the past winners is shown by the fact that several of them have gone on to win other awards, for example the novel Katy of Sky Road was nominated as an Honour Book by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) for 2009 and novels by Conny Lubisi and Mafori Charles Mphahlele won 2008 MNet Awards.
The judges of the Literature Awards 2010 included well-known writers and literary experts such as: Niki Daly, Sindiwe Magona, Marita van der Vyfer, Prof. M.J. Mojalefa and X.E. Mabaso.
In 2010, prizes were awarded in five of the eleven language categories and in the illustration category. The winner in each category receives a prize of R7 500, while the finalists receive R3 500. The winning stories were published by Maskew Miller Longman in July 2010.
Winner: Kat in die pan vir die Fransman – Jelleke Wierenga
Finalist: Die Groenmambas en Shaka se spies – Carina Diedericks-Hugo
Finalist: ‘n Bosluis red die koningshuis – Jelleke Wierenga
This anthology is a collection of contemporary love stories by African women. The collection combines the tentative freshness of budding writers with the confidence of established and award winning authors from Africa and the African Diaspora.
The collection is a radical departure from conventional anthologies and the theme of love is aimed at dedunking preconceived notions about African women as impoverished victims whilst showing their strength, complexity and diversity.
The stories deal with a range of challenging themes including taboo subjects such as same-sex relationships, domestic violence, female circumcision and ageism to produce a melting pot of narratives from interesting and informed perspectives.
Contributors include Sindiwe Magona and Antjie Krog from South Africa, Véronique Tadjo from Cote d’Ivoire, Leila Aboulela from the Sudan, Nawal El Saadawi from Egypt, Helen Oyeyemi, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Sarah Manyika, Sefi Atta and Promise Ogochukwu from Nigeria, Yaba Badoe from Ghana, Wangui wa Goro from Kenya and Doreen Baingana from Uganda.
Date: Saturday, 31 July 2010
Time: 3:00 PM to 3:45 PM
Venue: Dalro Forum, Cape Town Book Fair,
CTICC, Convention Square
1 Lower Long Street, Cape Town
Like the programme that was meant to have stormed London’s academic citadels, the CTBF’s is called “South Africa in the World” – though this version is much less ambitious in scope. It takes place on Sunday, 1 August from 10am to 1pm, in room 1.63-1.64 at the CTICC.
The topics are two – “Thinking from the South” and “South Africa in 2010: Development or Decline?” – and those discussing them include Achille Mbembe and Sarah Nuttall (whom we hear have been poached from Wits by Stellenbosch University, along with Leon de Kock), Betty Govinden, Ari Sitas, Duncan Brown, Ronit Frenkel, Omano Edigheji and Muff Andersson.
Here’s the flyer, which contains all the details (click for the largest size):
Counting the R150 000 represented by the Sunday Times Fiction Prize and the Alan Paton Award, over R500 000 will be dished out to writers over the next several days. This coming Friday night, the Jan Rabie Rapport and Via Afrika Awards (shortlists here) will see R210 000 divvied up amongst half a dozen authors and illustrators; on Saturday, the M-Net Awards (shortlists here) will lavish R180 000 upon SA scribes; and on Sunday night, the EU Literary Award (shortlist here) will make its annual bequeathment of R25 000 on a first-time novelist.
The forthcoming awards are clustered around the Cape Town Book Fair; BOOK SA will bring you all the winners live from the Mother City, so stay tuned.