My daughter and I went to the Jozi Book Fair today, where my mom was promoting her book (Steps to Financial Freedom).
The fair was held at Museum Africa in the Newtown Cultural Precinct, Johannesburg and was the first such event in Johannesburg. All the publishers were there with tables - groaning under piles and piles of books - and friendly smiling faces.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear to have been very well publicized, as there were more organisers than attendees – or so it seemed, at least. I only heard of the event because my mother was speaking, so I wonder if anyone else had heard of it. Which is a pity, because there is a great need for such an event. In fact, because I hadn’t seen any advertising for the event, I assumed it was an industry only event, and declined taking my daughter’s friends along.
Another pity is the vast number of political literature available, and how little fiction there is by comparison. Our culture has a rich tradition of story telling, and yet we spend all our money on fiction written by non-South Africans. And I doubt that this has anything to do with a lack of writers or readers.
I do hope that this changes quickly. I have seen some non-political South African fiction on the shelves recently, so I am positive that there is change happening in the local publishing industry. But the reality is still that, when I walk into my local bookstore, I am more likely to purchase a book by an international author rather than a local one, because, for some strange reason, local fiction is more expensive. That, and there simply isn’t enough available that is compatible with my tastes.
I really do hope that next year’s event is much better advertised, and that one day, I am there talking about my own book.