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South African Book Fair

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

One for the Books: Presenting the 2015 South African Book Fair Programme

The 2015 South African Book Fair programme has been released and, like your favourite novel, it’s filled with exciting characters, captivating dialogue and adventure. Taking place in Johannesburg from 31 July to 2 August, there is something for everyone, whether you are adult or child, a bookworm or occasional reader, a lover of all genres or loyal to just one, or thinking about getting into the publishing industry.

The SA Book Fair is South Africa’s largest fair of its kind and, naturally, attracts some of the biggest names. Over 100 authors, writers, poets, publishers and playwrights will be sharing their experience, talents and knowledge in a three day book-inspired escapade.

Scroll to the end to see the full programme

Here are a few highlights from our full programme:

Broken Monsters21 at 21Dr Eve's Sex Book for Young PeopleAchieving the ImpossibleOur MadibaThe Arrogance of PowerThe ANC Women's LeagueThe Space Between the Space BetweenWastedTo Quote MyselfBest White and Other Anxious DelusionsAffluenzaThe FetchWhat Will People SayPlasentaSaliger
Kodenaam IcarusWhen a Man Cries101 DetectivesStrange PilgrimagesThe ReactiveThe Last Road Trip
A Life DigestedEat, Drink and Blame the AncestorsThe Origins of Non-racialismThe Joburg BookWalter and Albertina SisuluThe Raft
’n Duisend stories oor JohannesburgThe FetchA Slim, Green SilenceHave You Seen Zandile?Oliver’s OutlineDie Dingesfabriek: Jannus en Kriek en die tydmasjienTarts


  • Wonderwoman – At a kids event, Lauren Beukes will be reading her Wonder Woman comic book with art by Mike Maihack.

    “The Trouble With Cats” in DC’s Sensation #9 sees Wonder Woman racing to save Batman and Superman from her archenemy, Cheetah, on a mythical island off the coast of Mozambique. But the story takes a twist to Soweto where a young girl has to find her own inner heroine and use the power of her imagination to save the day. This event is suitable for kids aged five and up and includes a brief talk on how comics are made. Grown-up comic fans welcome too. Dressing up as a superhero is encouraged!

  • Twenty-one born frees are asked what 21 years of democracy means – Melanie Verwoerd and Sonwabiso Ngcawo discuss the answers in 21 at 21.
  • Seduced! – Dr Eve chats to Kuli Roberts of Kaya FM as they explore a new threat to marriages and relationships – cyberinfidelity.
  • Black and White in Colour: Why race (still) matters – Lewis Gordon, Melanie Verwoerd and Xolela Mangcu, chaired by Shireen Hassim. In conjunction with the Mail & Guardian Literary Festival.
  • How imagination can change the world – Uno de Waal, winner of top African Blogger Award for Arts And Culture, chats to ad-men John Hunt, Mark Winkler and Khaya Dlanga about the power and magic of the imagination.
  • Africa is a continent of opportunity and potentialPublishing in Africa discusses the challenges and opportunities of trading books in the Global South.
  • It’s Reading, But Not As You Know It – Mike Mophoto, the man behind Diary of a Zulu Girl, Rebecca Davis and Nancy Brown from World Reader, explore fun and different ways of getting South Africans reading. With Karabo Kgoleng Dada.
  • The books you read say a lot about who you are – Novelists Niq Mhlongo, Finuala Dowling and Rehana Rossouw discover South Africa’s Bookself. Chaired by Karabo Kgoleng Dada.
  • Die opkoms van die vigilante in Lekkerkunde – Peet Venter en die krimisibbe, Dibi and Henk Breytenbach, filosofeer al drie oor die rol van die vigilante in hulle boeke. Ons sien dikwels hoe die howe skynbaar faal, maar wat is die alternatief?
  • ShortsSiphiwo Mahala talks to Ivan Vladislavić, Achmat Dangor and Masande Ntshanga about the art of the short story.
  • Books, boys and beersGareth Crocker, Khaya Dlanga and Pete Goffe-Wood share their bromance with Ndumiso Ngcobo over craft beers, as they discuss the meaning of life and friendship. Snacks included.
  • Future Perfect – Transforming Joburg from apartheid city to a city for all – David Everatt, Nechama Brodie and others. Chaired by Rashid Seedat in conjunction with the Mail & Guardian Literary Festival.

But that’s not everything, we have poetry and script-writing masterclasses, panel discussions, workshops and lectures, all involving leading writers, editors and publishers from South Africa and the world. If you want to enter the writing and publishing industry, we’ve geared a significant part of the programme towards new talent, so there are plenty of workshops to help you on your way. Some of these include:

  • Editing Workshop – This 50-minute hands-on workshop provides insight into whether editing is meant for you.
  • Get published – Get the inside scoop on taking your book from manuscript to publication. Mark Winkler talks about how he broke through the literature barrier, and numerous publishers give their tips and suggestions about digital versus physical choices and how to get published.
  • Scriptwriting stories – Masterclass with screenwriters Fred Strydom and Harry Kalmer.
  • Ever dreamt of expressing yourself through poetry? – In Poetry masterclass with Finuala Dowling and Beverly Rycroft, you’ll find there’s more to poetry than finding a word to rhyme with orange.

The popular Creative Mornings Johannesburg will be hosting their monthly session at the Fair with the title “Confessions of a design thief”. Participants will gain some insight into the workings of a creative mind during this entertaining talk from Garth Walker, the man who edited iJusi for 20 years.

And if you’re feeling energised after all the adventure, join PAST Experiences on one or both of their walking tours around historic Joburg – “The ANC – past, present and future” or “What’s in a name”, which explores the changing names of inner city Joburg, happening at midday on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
Children’s Zone
Whether you’ve got kids of your own or are simply indulging your inner child, our Children’s Zone is a must-visit destination. There are readings throughout each day and the event schedule is packed with new adventures and experiences in The Alice Room:

  • Hello, Hugless Douglas! – Join the creator himself, David Melling, as he reads his delightful story, shares the history and making of the huggable Douglas and shows how he comes to life. Suitable for three to six year olds.
  • Be taken on a magical tour of African folktales by famed storyteller, Gcina Mhlophe.
  • Jurassic Park is coming to Joburg – In “Dem Bones” children can listen to the best dino tales, meet a real paleontologist and dig for bones.
  • Beautiful me! – Join Alan Glass, the creator of Beautiful Creatures and Oliver’s Outline, as he talks and sings about self-esteem and loving yourself. For ages six and up
  • Books and ballet – come dance with words! – Every little girl, at some point, dreams of being a ballerina. In collaboration with the Joburg Ballet, enjoy a ballet story and mini class with a real ballerina who will tell you all about life behind the curtain.
  • Become a detective for a day! – Join Jenny Crwys-Williams, Elizabeth Wasserman and Dog-detective Willem on a mystery solving adventure. You’ll also get to win books for your school library, learn how to train your own dog-detective and get a photo of yourself taken with a guide dog.
  • A dress-up Mad Hatter’s Tea Party – In celebration of Alice in Wonderland’s 150th anniversary and the launch of Alice in IsiZulu, with readings in both English and IsiZulu. The Queen of Tarts, Tina Bester, will be serving it up and prizes for the best-dressed are on the cards. The guest list includes the Gruffalo, Wally, Floppy, Peter Rabbit and more. It promises to be the grand finale to the SA Book Fair.

And if you’re a teacher, learner or librarian, Friday is dedicated specifically to you, and a number of schools from across Johannesburg have already booked their school outing.

To find out more about our exciting and jam-packed schedule, visit

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View the complete programme for the SA Book Fair 2015:

2015 South African Book Fair Programme by Books LIVE


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