Botswana: Book Festival to Cultivate Reading Culture

Gaborone — The upcoming Gaborone Book Festival is expected to give a platform to local writers and cultivate a reading culture among Batswana.

Briefing the media at the launch of the Gaborone Book Festival Trust recently, co-founder, Kenanao Phele said the festival would be held from Thursday until Saturday.

"The book festival is expected to have 12 authors from Botswana and six African writers and will last a period of three days during, which, a day will be exclusively for published writers where they will engage with each other through workshop and seminars," she said.

Phele said their love for books and the fact that local writers were under-marketed inspired them to start the book festival trust with the hope of attracting people of all races, gender, and background to foster a love for reading.

She further noted that part of the objective was to bring readers, writers, publishers and thinkers together to use all platforms to highlight and promote Batswana authors.

She said time was now to capture and embrace indigenous languages and to zone them through writing as well as for local stories to be preserved through the creative platform where authors, readers and thinkers could fully engage and discuss. For her part, trust co-founder, Keikantse Phele said they would have Teenzone section, which would focus on unearthing children's talent.

"It will introduce younger audiences to the spoken word allowing them to fall in love with this art form as well.

It can be a learning experience for them and breathe life into 'subjects' and topics that may otherwise seem lifeless and boring," she said.

She said there was a need to fill in gaps in public schools in terms of what they read and with through the workshop, aspiring students and learners who wanted to venture into writing and publishing would have an opportunity.

She said the purpose of the initiative was to build their listening comprehension skills as well as their confidence.

Dr Mary Lederer, one of the contributors in the anthology: The Women Writing Botswana project, which is aimed at documenting works of women writers, said the festival would give new writers the opportunity to interact with readers.

Source : BOPA

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