Book enthusiasts in for a treat as the Durban International Book Fair continues

The doors have opened to the annual Durban International Book Fair. Picture: Instagram

The doors have opened to the annual Durban International Book Fair. Picture: Instagram

Published Aug 11, 2023


South African literature is being embraced until August 13 at the Durban International Book Fair.

The event got off to a superb start since opening on August 9 at The Globe, Suncoast.

According to Anivesh Singh, one of two festival directors, the aim was to get about 2 000 people per a day to visit the five-day event but the expectations were exceeded when visitors flocked to the festival in their numbers and brought the kids too.

“The response has been amazing. It’s great to see lots of youngsters and kids. They’re entertained with chess and other games, walking around, interacting with museum artefacts, looking at Bonsai displays, sitting in workshops and some have published books.

“We also had one of the best-attended sessions I’ve seen when we launch a book on inspiring women, which attracted over 400 people. Books launches and events are becoming like pop concerts.

“We want to bring the magic back to books and literature and remind people that all the creative arts are linked, hence the theme ‘The Book and Beyond’,” said Singh.

So far, the literary wonderland has hosted countless authors, renowned publishers, passionate book enthusiasts book launches, meet and greets, thought-provoking panel discussions and presentations covering various genres, writing techniques, and the trends in the publishing industry among others things.

Renowned journalist and editor Dennis Pather launched his memoir, “Copy Boy: A Journey from Newsroom Gofer to Award-winning Editor”, at the fair on Saturday, August 12.

The book is a riveting account of Pather’s journey through the world of journalism, from his humble beginnings to award-winning editor of the “Daily News”, “The Mercury”, “Post” and deputy editor of the “Sunday Tribune”.

New author Sven Axelrad launched his book “Buried Treasure” at the fair as well. His debut novel takes readers on an enthralling journey set in the strange town of Vivo and explores themes of purpose, belonging and what our names mean to us.

DJ and author Makhosi Khoza launched two new publications and hosted two presentations: a radio masterclass for aspiring broadcasters and The Impact of AI on the Creative Industries, which explored the impact artificial intelligence has on publishing.

“There are at least 40 new writers that joined the festival and launched their books. And others came to launch their second and third book,” Singh said.

“We want to encourage creatives and writers to start taking the content they have developed to different levels and to not be afraid. If you write a book, why can’t you become a film-maker, or a games developer?”

With two days to go, there is still plenty to explore at the fair.

A packed line up includes a discussion on the Wentworth and the Merebank Book Project by Dr Gregory Houston and Jeeven Padayachee, an introduction to bonsai by the Durban Bonsai Society, various mind, body and soul workshops and book launches by Gayshree Ramputh for “Set on Fire” and Anna Mvubu for “Bringing Synergy to your Life”.

“Communities are now writing their own stories and recording them, so we have a session discussing those books from 10am to 11am. There is also a discussion of Kings of Durban by Deepak Panday, among others.

“And an anthology of poetry from the eight International Symposium on Poetic Inquiry, featuring Durban poets,” Singh said.

South African acclaimed cartoonist Dr Nanda Sooben will also be honoured with a Durban International Book Fair Lifetime Achievement Award at 1pm on Sunday.

Others who have also been awarded are Dr Phindile Dlamini, Mala Lutchmanan, Ari Sitas and Paul Mikula.

Entry to the Durban International Book Fair is free.