South Africa Launches a Multi-Year Initiative At the Göteborg Book Fair

press release

Today it is clear that South Africa will return to Göteborg Book Fair in an even more powerful initiative than previously planned for 2020. The commitment, which extends over three years, is announced in connection with South Africa's Minister of Culture Nathi Mthethwa meeting Sweden's Minister of Culture and Democracy Amanda Lind in a conversation about literature and reading, at 3 pm (GMT +1) in the program track Democracy (Demokratin) at Bokmässan Play.

When the coronavirus began to spread this spring, the collaboration between the National Library of South Africa and the Göteborg Book Fair was in an intense phase. Numbers of South African guests were scheduled to visit Sweden during the Book Fair 2020, to celebrate South Africa as theme country. However, as the physical fair was canceled due to covid-19, the collaboration was suspended. It is now clear that the collaboration has been resumed and further developed into a 3-year-inititative. In 2021 South Africa will participate as and exhibitor, in 2022 as a theme country and in 2023 within the framework of a new investment in children's and young people's literature.

South African literature has so many qualities! It is history, hope, poetry, future and fiction. It feels extremely privileged to cooperate with South Africa for several years. It is my hope that South African literature will take a large place in Sweden - that more books are translated and that readers open their eyes to a young and new publication from South Africa, but also that we get to meet the South African grand authors, says Frida Edman, Book Fair Director.

Partner for South Africa's engagement in the Göteborg Book Fair is like previously the National Library of South Africa. Financial partner is the Ministry of Culture in South Africa.

Ministers of culture meet - Sweden and South Africa

In the 1950s and 1960s, authors like Per Wästberg and Sara Lidman travelled to South Africa and helped call the world´s attention to the oppression of the apartheid regime - and to the country's authors and playwrights. Today, Sweden and South Africa collaborate in a number of cultural areas. In 2015, the South African reading movement PRAESA received the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA). Now, Sweden's minister of culture Amanda Lind and her South African colleague Nathis Mthethwa meet in a dialogue about literature and reading. How important are reading movements for a country like South Africa with eleven official languages, and for Sweden with one official language and five minority languages. Program leader is Hedda Krausz Sjögren, Cultural Council at the Swedish Embassy in Pretoria.

"We affirm the strong bond of friendship between the two countries and our people, this initiative will assist to increase international cooperation by fully being committed to promoting mutual beneficial cooperation in developing activities and exchanging programmes and projects towards language, diversity, books, publishing and reading" said Minister of Culture Nathi Mthethwa.

Link to the seminar at Book Fair Play:

More information about all seminars about South Africa at the Book Fair Play:

The Göteborg Book Fair 2020 will be arranged at the newly developed streaming service Book Fair Pay on 24-27 September. Themes are READ! READ! READ! in collaboration with Läsrörelsen and Digital Culture in collaboration with Dreamhack, Göteborg & Co, Lin Education, Majblomman och Storytel.

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