by Marion Whitehead
The 18th annual Bathurst Book Fair promises a bonanza of book bargains, a lively speaker programme with local authors, a sprint writing mini-workshop, a walking quiz with a literary theme, and an open mic poetry reading.
The Book Fair will take place on 30 April, featuring a literary-themed walking quiz through the village, organized by Historic Bathurst’s Nick Cowley. “It will test people’s powers of observation and make
them see new aspects of our village,” says Cowley.
An extra piggyback event is a one-day writers’ workshop on Saturday, 29 April, the day before the book fair, with Rhodes University emeritus professor of Sociology, Monty Roodt. Roodt is also the author of the Bernie Bernard crime thriller series, which he started while doing a creative writing course at Rhodes University.
“The Eastern Cape has produced some of the country’s best writers, and we aim to encourage and nurture new talent with this exciting new addition to the Bathurst Book Fair. The writer’s workshop will take participants through all the necessary stages to master the novel, non-fiction book, or biography they’ve been meaning to do and to get it published,” says Roodt.
The ultra-short short story competition is back by popular demand, challenging wordsmiths to tell a story that teases, intrigues, and grips readers in just 18 words. “We settled on 18 words because it is our 18th Book Fair,” said Bathurst dramatist Corinne Willoughby, who is coordinating the competition. “They can be saucy or sad, inspirational or innocent. Just be creative and grab our attention in 18 words. No more, no less.”
Entries in the 18-word ultra-short story competition will be published in a booklet that will be on sale at the Bathurst Book Fair, where the winner will be announced. Entries are limited to five per person and should be submitted via WhatsApp to Corinne Willoughby at 079 573 0609. The closing date for entries is 20 April.
The children’s programme has been expanded under the guidance of retired Rhodes University educator Marian Walwyn. There will also be an opportunity for budding young songwriters to express their creativity at a mini workshop with well-known local muso Anthony Caplan. Participants are encouraged to bring their musical instruments along. Pony rides are another fun option for young visitors to this year’s Bathurst Book Fair.
As always, there will be book bargains galore, from rare collector’s finds to trashy, ‘pre-loved’ softcovers and brand-new volumes. Collectible comics, ephemera, and vintage vinyl will also feature. Places at the writer’s workshop on 29 April are limited and the fee of R450 includes refreshments and a finger lunch. Bookings to 083 232 6646.
The Bathurst Book Fair starts at 9am on 30 April – a highlight in the middle of a lovely long weekend. For more details, go to the Bathurst Book Fair’s Facebook page or call 076 728 1317; to book a stall, call 082 621 1523.