THIS YEAR’S JOZI Book Fair is moving off the Wits campus and will be held at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown on August 31 to September 3, 2017.

Nosipho Mdletshe the book fair’s coordinator, told Wits Vuvuzela: “The fair is expanding and the space at Wits became too small for the number of audience members the fair wanted to accommodate”.

Mdletshe also added that “The fair is also partnering with the City of Johannesburg, the Market Photo Workshop and the Market Theatre Laboratory for the first time”.  This year’s theme, women in literature, aims to mobilise women and explore their positions in communities and literature.

When asked about the fair’s contribution towards transformation and decolonization of literature, Mdletshe said the organizers have encouraged publishers who sell their books at the event to include languages other than English. “Every year we have published literature written by black kids from the Orphaned and Vulnerable children (OVC). Last year and this year we will be launching a book from a short story competition which we opened to

the 47 schools we work with. Ten black kids were published last year and similarly this year we will launch and publish a book written by kids from the black schools and OVCs,” Mdletshe said.

BCom in Honours in Human Resources and Management student  Moroka Ntolwane (22) says he’s excited about this year’s Jozi Book fair, “I am always looking forward to it. I started to going to Jozi Book Fair since 2015 and it’s been fantastic! This year, I have saved some money so that I can buy myself some great books to read after I am done with my research in October.”

The fair is free for all to attend. “Our primary objective is to promote reading and make it accessible rather than making profit,” said Mdletshe.

The guest speakers at this year’s fair include Dr Kopano Matlwa,who is an author of three novels Coconut, Spilt Milk and Period Pain, and Shailja Patel, an internationally acclaimed Kenyan poet, playwright, theatre artist, political activist and author of bestseller Migritude, Zakes Mda, James Mathews, actress Mara Louw and Sunrise news anchor Penny Lebyane will also be at the fair.

Activities at the fair will include panel discussions, workshops, live performances of dance, poetry and music, as well as book launches and art exhibitions.