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.
Cape Town Book Fair Venue: Dalro Forum, H9, CTICC, Cape Town Time: 10:00 to 10:45 Notes: Soyinka will be in conversation with his publisher, Nana Becky Ayebia Clarke, on his memoir, You Must Set Forth at Dawn
Verdict: carrot for Bregin, but big stick for James Mitchell.
My friends enjoy my little rants, so forgive me for being verbose, but I am very, very irked.
Regular BOOK SA visitors may have noticed my name popping up on the site recently as a contributor. One of my roles is to source recently published articles and reviews that we can highlight on the site, which is how I happened upon this IOL review of Elana Bregin’s novel Shiva’s Dance.
I started reading the review and, reviewer James Mitchell’s unnecessary snark aside, was initially pleased to see Elana quoted from her panel discussion at this year’s Cape Town Book Fair, because I was there and I heard her speak too. I remember it quite clearly.
Yet soon subtle alarms bells started going off. The direct quotes seemed a little too familiar. I flipped open the article I’d written for my web site, brainwavez.org, on that very same panel discussion and went in search of the section that featured Elana Bregin. I had (painstakingly) transcribed some quotes of hers (99% verbatim) from my audio files that I had recorded at the book fair. Now I was curious to compare the text.
So, James Mitchell: show me your handwritten, Twitter, and audio notes from the Cape Town Book Fair, and I’ll show you mine. In the meantime, perhaps you’d like to look at the results of my work here… oh, wait, you already have.
Here’s Mitchell’s text:
At the Cape Town Book Fair, Elana Bregin described her novel as being ‘about the politics of being human’.
She went on: ‘It’s about the difficulties of just being here in this existence, born into a set of circumstances that we didn’t choose, born into dysfunctional families – many of us – that load us with baggage that we then carry through the rest of our lives, the difficulties of being part of this moment – not just in South Africa but in the world – where we have so little power to change things…
‘And then what it’s really about is the need to rise above all of that and find some kind of transcendent picture for your life.
‘So the girl in the story encounters a Buddhist monk and he’s the one that helps her kind of reassess where she is. So you can say it’s about a girl, it’s about a dog, it’s about a Buddhist, it’s about a boy, it’s about a motorbike, and a whole lot of things in between.’
Thank you, Elana Bregin, you’ve just about done this reviewer’s job for him. Except for the ‘whole lot of things in between’.
Those things are what make Shiva’s Dance far from a saccharine formula of redemption. Instead it develops from a story of frightening self-destruction into one with a universal application.
Gerry Aarons is not your average Durban Jewish school-girl. Instead she’s unwanted in the most frightening, horrible way, and she knows it.
“In the past four years, the Cape Town Book Fair has put the love of books and reading firmly on the public agenda in South Africa,” said Badroodien.
Inevitably, there will be speculation around whether she jumped or was pushed. Disagreements between Badroodien and the Fair’s board of directors – comprising representatives of the Publishers’ Association of South Africa and the Frankfurt Book Fair, which own the CTBF – were well known in publishing circles. A point of particular contention was the Fair’s inability to attract a headline sponsor after the Sunday Times pulled out following the 2007 event.
Badroodien is unsure of her future plans, but says that it’s likely she’ll remain in the world of books and publishing. “It’s such a wonderful world, after all,” she said. “Why would I want to leave?”
BOOK SA wishes Badroodien best of luck with the next stage of her career. We’ll miss you, Vanessa!
THE third instalment of the Spud story, Spud – Learning To Fly, was recently released, and part of author John van de Ruit’s punishing promotional schedule was last week’s Cape Town Book Fair, where his talks and signing sessions attracted throngs of fans.
The event is designed to promote the work of as many authors as possible, however.
Surely some of those in town to raise their own profiles must have wondered if they were receiving due appreciation?
The question put to these hard-working souls: “How annoying is it to be at the same fair as John van de Ruit and his new book?”
Nkumiso Ngcobo (Is It Coz I’m Black?): “I hate him! (laughs). I loved the book – it’s right up my alley. I’m so happy to see it’s doing well – proves the point that it doesn’t have to be Grisham or Harry Potter to sell big. He’s a pioneer.”
Adele Parks (Tell Me Something – has sold 1,5 million books in the UK): “Not at all – he’s a delight. Also, he’s mortified. He wants to move his pile of books when I’m signing. We’ll swap roles when he’s in the UK.”
Simon Gear (Going Green): “I love it. I’ve been mistaken for John four times today! I think it’s because I have my ‘happy John hair’ on. And I got him to sign one for me.”
Sarah Lotz (Exhibit A): “People have to walk past my stuff to get to his, so that’s good. He’s going to get carpal tunnel syndrome from all that signing.”
Margie Orford (Like Clockwork): “Who? Oh – you need the sound effect of a one-armed bandit every time he signs. I am willing to marry him.”
Max du Preez (Of Tricksters, Tyrants And Turncoats): “I open the paper this morning and he’s there. I come to the Book Fair and he’s here. I think he should emigrate to Australia.”
Ann Gadd (Finding Your Feet): “My son’s reading the new one. I’m so grateful that he’s got my 14-year-old to read rather than play computer games.”
Roger Smith (Mixed Blood): “It hasn’t impacted – I’ve just come in for a panel thing. Is he here?”
Annica Foxcroft (More Ants!): “Haven’t met him, but he sounds nice. The best man’s got to win. South African schools are part of our heritage.”