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25 Mar 2011 00:00
Discussion has been raging over the past few weeks in the Afrikaans press and on Litnet about Media24 newspapers’ decision to discard the books editors of their national dailies, Beeld (northern provinces including Gauteng distribution), Die Burger (Cape-based) and Volksblad (Free State) and to contract a super editor for books who would create an identical book page for the three newspapers.
Not only does this move concentrate too much power in one person, it also means that fewer perspectives and opinions will be expressed about fewer books.
A lively, growing and discoursing literary scene depends on a variety of voices and perspectives. It promotes vibrant intellectual debate and informs critical perspective on politics and the cultural life of the nation.
Some aspects of this decision:
Given publishers struggling to survive, bookshops closing down, the economic downturn and now this disinvestment in a lively literary culture, South African literature may just be experiencing the perfect storm.
Corina van der Spoel runs Boekehuis bookshop in Johannesburg. This article is a distillation of a blog from the new website of the Stellenbosch Literary Project (slipnet.co.za)
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