Book festival to showcase Cape Flats authors

Roscoe Williams, programme manager of Read to Rise, promotes the first ever Cape Flats Book Festival.

Literacy non-profit organisation Read to Rise will be hosting the first ever Cape Flats Book Festival in Mitchell’s Plain.

Authors, illustrators, publishers and literacy groups will be at West End Primary School, in Merrydale Avenue in Lentegeur, from 9am until 5pm on Saturday August 31 and Sunday September 1. Entry is free.

They will be telling their stories, selling books and sharing their reading experiences in the form of panel discussions and workshops.

Roscoe Williams, programme manager of Read to Rise, who visits primary schools in Mitchell’s Plain and Soweto to distribute the Oaky series books, said they would like to give book lovers of the Cape Flats a literary experience.

“We chose Mitchell’s Plain because we already have a footprint in Mitchell’s Plain, knowing that almost every pupil has an Oaky book,” he said.

Roscoe and his team have been distributing the books to foundation phase pupils, visiting their classes and gifting mini-libraries – to teach them book ownership and share the book’s message.

The series was written by his brother Westridge-born author Athol Williams and illustrated by his wife, Taryn Lock, who is also the co-founder and executive director of the organisation.

They offer fun, interactive class programmes for pupils to create a generation of readers.

Roscoe said his first book festival experience was in Franschhoek in 2015, where he noted an elite class and the absence of Cape Flats authors.

“I thought why not showcase these authors and often our local authors don’t get invited to those festivals,” he said.

He said it was important
to create an opportunity for
them to showcase they literary success.

“We want people to come to Mitchell’s Plain and we want pupils to bring their parents and grandparents to share in their love of reading,” he said.

He said there will be a book every age, interest and topic.

The festival kick starts National Book Week, from Monday September 2 until Sunday September 8, an initiative of the South African Book Development Council (SABDC) in collaboration with the Department of Arts and Culture and coincides with International Literacy Day on September 8.

Roscoe said they have approached possible funders, invited the community to be involved in securing the venue and that the refreshment funds will be for the school.

“We are hoping that the festival will grow every year and that it may have to be held at different venues to accommodate the crowd,” he said.

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