In 2017, the South African Book Development Council, in association with the Fibre Processing and Manufacturing Seta, implemented a re-imagined National Book Fair. Seated within National Book Week, the Fair facilitated the telling of a multitude of South African stories.
We thank industry players who attended the 2017 Fair for the generous feedback they provided, all of which have been woven into 2018.
Among the many South African stories that need to be told at the Fair are the stories of our publishing and related industries. South Africa is experiencing a cultural revolution, and the Fair is an opportunity for the publishing sector to entrench itself as a relevant, inclusive and representative part of South African and African development.
Highlighting the role our publishing industry plays in education and reading
In light of the devastating report on the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) of December 2017, the Friday (ie first day) of the Fair will be dedicated to the important role industry plays in education and reading. Events will be tailored to schools, learners, teachers and reading development. The day will culminate in an open-air storytelling fest kept moving swiftly to the beat of the African drum in Newtown Junction’s piazza.
New exhibition space and feel
We will again be able to make Newtown our venue of choice in 2018, and are hoping that the area will become established as the Fair’s home in years to come. However, we will not be using Museum Africa as a venue in 2018. We have been fortunate to acquire the use of a space that is better suited to our purposes, and more amenable to adaptation.
This year, Johannesburg-based Orlando will be collaborating with the SABF’s team in order to energise the visitor’s journey; create a more dynamic exhibition area; and integrate the overall Fair experience by means of ‘wayfinding’ and visual communication. Orlando’s designs will be both vibey and based on a deep understanding of the Fair’s aims and needs. Expect to be delighted by experiences that encourage spaces, brands and people to interact and thrive.
This year the Academic and Non-Fiction Authors’ Association of South Africa (ANFASA) is leading the curation of the literary programme. The team has been generating very exciting ideas around the programme, which will be based on the notion of the writer as the conscience of society. ANFASA will soon be in touch with all authors and publishers regarding the programme.
Creative direction and public relations
To enable us to share #OURSTORIES as widely and effectively as possible, The Fort will provide creative direction for the Fair, while On Point PR will continue to develop and expand the Fair’s relationships with both key media and the public. In bringing #OURSTORIES to life once more, we will expand on the striking visual language we created last year.
Re-inventing the idea of the book club
In 2018, the SABF will transform the art and fashion of reading in South Africa through a new kind of book club. Look out for a series of curated events to be held in ‘curious’ spaces on a monthly basis in and around Johannesburg, in front of an intimate audience of extraordinary and like-minded thinkers.
“Writers have to see, feel, hear, smell and taste what is within and around them; they have to wonder, to ask questions about, to entertain, to support, to trouble their societies.” – Phaswane Mpe, academic and writer