NLSA participate in the Gothenburg book fair

NLSA participate in the Gothenburg book fair

The National Library of South Africa (NLSA) participated in the prestigious Gothenburg Book Fair, which took place from 28 September to 01 October 2023 in Gothenburg, Sweden. The theme for South Africa’s participation at the GBF 2023 was “Sharing Stories: Under the Baobab tree”. 

“Sharing Stories: Under the Baobab Tree” is a theme that encapsulates the essence of South African storytelling traditions. The baobab tree, also known as the “Tree of Life,” has been a central gathering place for generations of South Africans, where stories, folklore, and wisdom have been passed down through the ages. These huge trees also provide shade and shelter as well as water, nourishment and medicine. The theme suggests a rootedness in place and time and paints a picture of the spaces that many trees across the landscape provide. South Africa’s presence at the Gothenburg Book Fair aims to recreate this cherished tradition by bringing together diverse voices, narratives, and perspectives from South Africa’s vibrant literary landscape.

The Gothenburg Book Fair is one of the most prominent international events in the world of literature, attracting authors, publishers, and book enthusiasts from all corners of the globe. South Africa’s participation underscores the country’s commitment to promoting its rich literary heritage and fostering cultural exchange.

NLSA’s exhibition stand at the fair featured five Children’s books that were translated into Swedish and a wide range of branded promotional items. Visitors had the opportunity to engage with prominent South African authors and explored our diverse literary heritage.

The following renowned South African authors were identified based on the work that they do in relation to South Africa’s theme and the Book Fair’s focus theme of ‘Jewish Culture and accepted the invitation to represent South Africa at the Book Fair.

• Lynn Joffe 
• Zakes Mda 
• Refiloe Moahloli 
• Sihle-isipho Nontshokweni
• Nthabiseng JahRose Jafta

In addition to showcasing our rich literary culture, South Africa’s presence at the fair was aimed at fostering international literary collaborations, encourage translation of South African works, and promoting cross-cultural understanding.

Ms. Jolene Bhadais, Director: Communications, Marketing and Stakeholder Relations at the National Library of South Africa, expressed gratitude about the NLSA’s participation: “We are thrilled to have represented South Africa at the Gothenburg Book Fair under the theme ‘Sharing Stories: Under the Baobab Tree.’ This theme embodies our commitment to preserving our cultural heritage and sharing it with the world. We managed to build bridges through literature and created memorable experiences for visitors at the fair.”

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