The annual Zimbabwe International Book Fair (ZIBF), widely considered Sub-Saharan Africa’s most important literary event, will run from July 27 to August 1 in Harare, Zimbabwe.
ZIBF was cancelled last year due to insufficient funding. A $10,000 grant from the Culture Fund, a trust established by the Swedish International Development Agency, made this year’s fair possible.
The book fair will take place in the Harare Gardens at Julius Nyerere Way in Zimbabwe’s capital city. It will be open to the public from 10 am to 5 pm.
ZIBF organisers say they are expecting a big turnout this year, despite Zimbabwe’s current economic difficulties and last year’s cancellation. Executive Director Greenfield Chilongo said in a telephone interview that there will be a “big crowd.”
The principal theme of the 2009 fair will be “Reading and Writing Zimbabwe.”
“The theme has given everyone an opportunity to reflect, to investigate more and get a deeper understanding of Zimbabwe from the perspective of Zimbabweans,” ZIBF Board Chair Ruby Magosvongwe told Zimbabwean newspaper The Standard.
Among the planned activities are the Zimbabwe Book Publishers Association (ZBPA) Literary Awards, writers’ workshops, discussion groups, poetry readings, literary debates and a children’s tent with spoken-word storytellers.
The book exhibition will also feature a two-day Indaba conference, to take place July 27 and 28 at the Crowne Plaza Monomatapa, in which culturally prominent Zimbabwean authors and academics will host individually themed sessions. Some of the confirmed sessions are “Colonial Literature,” “Media Reading and Writing” and “Publishing and Marketing.”
Foreign publishing houses, book sellers and advocacy groups are also expected to be represented at the fair. Mr. Chilongo confirmed the attendance of exhibitors from Malwai, South Africa and Ghana.
“Our objective is to give the readers and stakeholders what they want and provide an opportunity for them to meet some of the leading authors as well as discuss current challenges in the book sector,” Mr. Chilongo said, according to The Standard.
Public entry to the fair will be free. Visitors wishing to attend the Indaba conference will be required to pay an admission fee.
The fair will commence with an inaugural address from Senator David Coltart, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Education, Arts, Sports and Culture. Hope Sadza, Vice Chancellor and founder of Women’s University in Africa, is expected to deliver the keynote speech.