Developing a Culture of Reading and Writing – the Jozi Book Fair


Jozi Book Fair – a book fair for readers, writers and publishers!

Khanya College organised and hosted the first edition of the Jozi Book Fair in 2009, in collaboration with Botsotso Publishers.

The first JBF was a great success thanks to the support of the public, readers, writers and publishers.

The Jozi Book Fair 2009:

Attracted 45 exhibitors;

Attracted 5 publishers from outside South Africa;

Attracted at least 3 publishers whose focus is publishing in African languages;

Was attended by more than a thousand members of the public;

Featured 58 authors and writers;

Hosted several book launches and conversations with authors; and

Hosted a children’s programme attended by more than 50 children from Soweto and the inner-City.

The aim of Jozi Book Fair is to promote a culture of reading and writing through developing a special interactive partnership between readers, writers and publishers. The JBF is designed to provide a common and mutually supportive meeting space:

to give readers the opportunity to signal to writers and publishers the stories that they are interested in;

to give emerging and established writers the encouragement to write their stories through making publishing more accessible;

to provide a space where (small and indigenous) publishers meet with authors and the public; and

to provide a space in which innovative approaches to solving publishing challenges can be developed.

Creating partnerships with small publishers to publish writing by children

The Jozi Book Fair Readers Project

The JBF is an ongoing cycle in which readers, writers and publishers assist each other in the creation of a strong and diverse reading and writing culture, necessary to consolidate democracy.

The second Jozi Book Fair takes place on 7th, 8th and 9th August 2010, at the Museum Africa in Newtown.

The Projects and Activities of Jozi Book Fair

The Jozi Book Fair

The Jozi Book Fair is held over three days in August to coincide with National Women’s Day (9 August). The activities at the book fair are organized around the readers, writers and authors and publishers, and events which promote this three-way partnership. The Jozi Book Fair will host:

Exhibitions of between 80 and 100 small publishers, libraries, bookshops;

A programme of seminars, roundtable discussions, and public lectures featuring fiction and non-fiction writers from South Africa, Africa and around the world;

Book launches, conversations with writers/ authors, art and literature exhibitions, film screenings;

Training workshops on various issues including reading & writing skills;

Debates and events on Women and Literature to coincide with Women’s Day;

A Children’s programme to encourage reading and writing among children;

A networking space for small publishers;

A discussion forum of Reading Circles from the various townships in South Africa; and

A space for local writers to interact with writers from Africa and the world

Beyond the annual event in August, the Jozi Book Fair has a number of ongoing projects that aim to promote a broad-based culture of reading, writing and publishing. The activities and projects include:

The Jozi Book Fair Children’s Project

A Children’s Programme to encourage reading, writing and art;

Story-telling and Reading events for children between the ages of 6 and 12, aimed at introducing children and parents to the world of books and stories. The emphasis will be on indigenous language literature and stories;

Reading and writing circles at primary schools and high schools; and

Reading Workshops to overcome barriers to reading and to develop good reading habits amongst readers of all age groups;

Reading Circles (reading groups) from various townships in Gauteng and other parts of the country. The JBF will produce publications on how to set up and run reading circles; how to develop good reading habits and skills; and how to develop good writing skills;

Reading Competitions to promote an interest in reading; and

High School Literature Circles that includes teachers and students and focuses on literature reading at schools.

The Jozi Book Fair Writers Project

A programme of interactions between local and international writers, especially those from Africa;

Writing Workshops to develop writing skills for diverse mediums;

Creative writing workshops for readers, which encourages readers in the idea that they also have stories to tell; and

A ‘Meet the author’ programme to provide space for interaction between established writers and new writers. New authors will also have an opportunity to interact and get comments from peers.

The Jozi Book Fair Small Publishers Project

A number of workshops will be hosted to build the capacity of small publishers and to provide space for networking. These include:

Marketing, Publicity and Distribution Workshops for Small Publishers;

Financial Management and Training for Small Publishers;

Legal Issues for Small Publishers (such as intellectual property rights); and

Digital publishing: Challenges and Opportunities

The JBF participates in international publishing events to profile South African products, especially from small publishers. These include international book fairs, publishing conferences, and other international platforms.

“My Class” – the Jozi Book Fair newsletter

JBF produces a newsletter to provide a space for reading circles, new authors, established authors and publishers to keep in on-going communication about new initiatives and activities. Reading circles will publish reviews of books they have read, new books from small publishers will be advertised; new writing (short stories, poetry, prose) from members of reading circles will be published.

Jozi Book Fair Website

Access to the web is vital for growing a culture of reading and writing in South Africa, and to build a strong publishing movement. The JBF website will provide:

Assistance in the listing (and updates) of the Reading Circles, their activities, what they are reading, and their requests to authors and publishers;

A platform where readers (circles), authors (in particular emerging ones), and small publishers can post their events;

A marketing platform for new authors and small publishers; and

The posting of new writings by members of reading circles and other emerging authors

The Jozi Book Fair is organised by Khanya College

The Jozi Book Fair initiative is built on a long history of Khanya College organising educational festivals, publishing accessible educational and popular information; and the Khanya College Annual Winter School, in existence since 1999.

We call all readers, writers and small publishers: Participate in the Jozi Book Fair!

Contact the Jozi Book Fair

Phone: 011-3369190

Fax: 011-336 9196



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