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The Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown, Johannesburg, was buzzing with schoolchildren, writers, publishers as well as distributors from all over South Africa during the second edition of SA Book Fair (SABF).

The re-designed fair, held under the auspices of the South African Book Development Council, took place from 8 – 10 September 2017. It has now been incorporated into the successful annual National Book Week.

According to Vuyisile Mshudulu, Arts, Culture and Heritage Director in the City of Johannesburg, the fair provides a strong platform for the book industry.
The National Book Week and fair share the following broad objectives:

Promoting a reading culture and increasing access to books; 
Forging and promoting partnerships across the industry both locally and on the continent; 
Showcasing books, authors and the book industry in general; 
SMME and entrepreneurial development; 
Enterprise and skills development across the value chain; and 
A lively, captivating literary festival based in Gauteng every September.

“Hosting events of this magnitude in the heart of the city will go a long way in achieving Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba’ s 10-point plan, one of which is achieving a 5% economic growth rate.

“This presents young and upcoming writers and publishers with an opportunity to showcase their work. We have tried to balance this exhibition by including visual arts and invited school children to encourage them to read more,” said Mshudulu.

He said staging the fair at its current venue was central to revitalising the city and rebranding Newtown as cultural precinct.

“For us it is exciting if we have more and more events coming to Newtown so that we can get that cultural vibe and the prestige position that Newtown once held in the cultural arena internationally. It also important that this event is hosted in one of our major cultural institutions, Museum Africa,” said Mshudulu.

The fair, according to Mshudulu, creates a platform where the production side and publishing of the book sector can interact with the distribution side and form sustainable economic relationships that can have a mutually beneficial relationship between the two sides of the value chain.