Stanley Mushava Arts Correspondent
The Zimbabwe International Book Fair which was slated for July 29 to August 3, has been deferred to September 30-October 5 to forestall collision with the harmonised elections which were held yesterday. The forthcoming edition of the book fair, taglined “[email protected]: Enabling Creativity, Writing, Publishing and Reading for Africa’s Growth” will nevertheless continue with the originally promised programmes on revised dates.
Speaking on behalf of the ZIBF Executive Board, chairperson Musaemura Zimunya said: “I would like to advise our valued key stakeholders, funding partners, writers, publishers, booksellers, librarians, prospective presenters, exhibitors, educationists, scholars and members of the general public that our calendar of activities has been revised in order to make way for the Zimbabwe national plebiscite.
“Most crucially, we remain committed to our enduring objectives and to ensure that the events continue to celebrate our 30 years of providing a truly Zimbabwean and African Book Fair with the same revamped programmes and activities as promised,” Zimunya said.
Keynote events will include the Indaba, Writers’ Workshop, Young Persons Indaba, Traders’ Day and exhibitions.
This year ZIBF stretches its turf to Masvingo, Bulawayo and Mutare, as it continues its sluggish recovery from the downturn that saw it failing to organise the annual event during 2008 and 2009.
ZIBF had slumped due to economic collapse, the challenge of digital migration and lukewarm support from the donor community. Since 2010, the book fair has registered a modest comeback, attracting international participants and extending its catchment to other provinces.
Founded in 1983, ZIBF has been the traditional launch pad for budding writers’ careers as it provides a tripartite interface for publishers, writers and the reading public.
Literary notables including Dambudzo Marechera, Chenjerai Hove, Yvonne Vera and Charles Mungoshi have headlined past book fairs while contemporaries such as John Eppel, Memory Chirere, and Tinashe Mushakavanhu have continued the tradition.
ZIBF was one of the biggest events on Africa’s literary calendar at its height in the early nineties.