Mmegi Blogs :: Make Sure You're At GBF Book Night!
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Thursday 18 October 2018, 18:40 pm.
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Make Sure You're At GBF Book Night!

This is an exciting year for authors in Botswana. We have two literary events to look forward to. The first will be a celebration of World Book Day this next Monday (April 23) at the UB Library Auditorium starting at 5 pm.
By Lauri Kubuitsile Fri 20 Apr 2018, 13:30 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: Make Sure You're At GBF Book Night!








I’m very excited to be part of this event. I’ll be speaking about writing historical fiction and about my historical novel, The Scattering (I’ve just sign a new contract with Penguin Random House for my second historical novel with them).

The other authors on the progamme that evening are:  Modirwa Kekwaletswe, Kagiso Madibana, and Thabo Katlholo. The Choppies Group of Companies is financially supporting the GBF Book Night. Botswana Gazette and The Business Weekly and Review are the media partners.  After the formal programme there will be book sales and book signings, so I hope to see many people there. Remember to bring your copies of any of my books so I can sign them too. Some of my other titles, besides The Scattering, will be on sale as well.

            The Book Night is really a precursor to the main event later in the year, something to whet people’s appetites. The second and main event will be the Gaborone Book Festival and will take place on the September 21-22. It will include both local and international authors. There will be panel discussions and book launches, talks and conversations with readers, thinkers, and publishers, as well as music, art, and traditional food.

            The events are being organised by a trio of sisters who have set up Gaborone Book Festival Trust. The sisters— Kenanao, Keikantse and Katlego Phele— love reading and noticed that unlike other African cities, Gaborone had no annual book festival. Instead of sitting back and accepting the status quo, they decided to do something about it. I spoke to Kenanao Phele and she told me this about the origins of their idea: “We love reading and through our numerous discussions (mostly on Whatsapp) we came to the conclusion that since Gaborone doesn’t have either a book fair or festival, it is upon the three of us (initially), to work on the idea and bring it to fruition. So since October 2017, we have been putting all the necessary work needed to get us where we are and beyond.”

They want to create excitement about

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books and they want that excitement to be sustained throughout the year. “To avoid a ‘vacuum’ between the first book night and the main book festival, we will have a winter series of open book meeting reviews. We will announce our books of the month and meet with anybody who has read them for a review. Lastly, we will definitely have one more event to close off the year. Details will follow later,” Kenanao said. 

            She told me that the main objectives for their events are:

1. Through all the platforms we are creating, our main objective is to foster a love for reading among Batswana and residents of Botswana.

2. To bring readers, writers, publishers, thinkers together for inspiration, entertainment and discussion on key issues.

3. To promote Botswana and African literature – which is underexposed, under-marketed and under-appreciated.

            I asked Kenanao why she thought reading, especially for pleasure, was so important. “Reading for pleasure on the other hand is essential because the more we read the more we know. The more we know the more our minds open, we are able to discuss and appreciate issues from a point of knowledge. Learning is a lifelong feat and it can only be achieved through reading…. Books have helped shape who I am today— my belief system and ideologies. In late 2017, I made a conscious decision to start reading books written by Africans—living in the continent and in the diaspora. WOW! I have missed out on our stories, heritage, and history all these years. The books are also helping me decolonise my mind, something I find absolutely necessary and liberating at this point in my life.” As an author I’m thankful, finally, someone has taken the initiative to pull books back to their rightful place in the country. I really hope lots of people will come out for these events. I know I plan to do everything I can to ensure that the efforts of these enterprising sisters are not in vain. I hope to see all of you there on Monday!

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