SA Book Fair announces virtual event this September

06 August 2020 - 11:56 By South African Book Fair
The 2020 SABF is hosting a virtual event in support of the book industry during COVID-19.
The 2020 SABF is hosting a virtual event in support of the book industry during COVID-19.
Image: SABF / Twitter

The SA Book Development Council (SABDC) has announced that the 2020 edition of the South African Book Fair (SABF) will be going ahead as a virtual event taking place from September 11-13 at the culmination of SA’s National Book Week.

The SABDC and the FP&M Seta are committed 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 stay within people’s consciousness.

In reimagining this year’s SABF, the emphasis is on providing a highly relevant, immersive and engaging virtual experience for readers, book lovers, authors, illustrators, poets and members of the book and publishing industry via a newly developed online platform.

This year’s virtual fair, while a simplified version of the annual physical fair, will offer a full and exciting programme of stimulating discussions, entertainment and fun to ensure that there is something for everyone.  

The virtual event will include a mix of poetry sessions, author-led panel discussions, SMME skills development workshops, the industry marketplace as well as the beloved National Book Week Magic Tent which will also take flight into the digital realm. This ever-popular part of the fair will offer kids a lovingly created 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 this year’s event is a bespoke Battle of the Bookclubs Literature Quiz which will start during August, with the semifinal and final taking place during the fair.

As has become its signature, this year’s virtual fair will see over 23 expert and author-led panels or sessions engaging with topical issues with the books to match. Some of the sessions include:

  • Feminism (Our bodies our truths; perils of patriarchy: Whenever, wherever, everyday — confront, not cower)

  • Race & Identity (Black Lives Matter; white privilege; dala what you must: stories from the Cape Flats; breaking through shame: overcoming societal norms)

  • Relationships & Erotica (Husbands, wives and lovers: the empresses of erotica share their secrets; staying with the one: faith, love and compromise)

  • Crime (Investigative journalism; villains of past and present)

  • Food (Down to earth: from garden to table; Kitchen Queen: nourishment for the soul, glow for the skin)

  • Travel (Collecting from afar: Stories full of home)

  • Science fiction (Time, space and the anthropocene: fiction and the fall of humankind)

  • Economics  (Is the glass half empty? How to create economic opportunity in SA)

  • Poetry (Poetry café with Hear My Voice)

The SABF marketplace has also moved online, making it even more accessible 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.

As part of building a reflective and representative SA and African literary culture, 26 beneficiaries have been selected for exhibition subsidies at this year’s fair. A  further 13 beneficiaries will join them for the training that is part of the comprehensive SMME skills development initiative made possible by the FP&M Seta which funds an ongoing SAABF enterprise development programme and supports the fair.

Further details as well as the full programme will be announced when tickets go on sale early in August.

Article courtesy of the South African Book Fair