New partnership gives space to up-and-coming publishers

An industry that is not constantly growing and nurturing new talent is doomed to fail. Given that, the Publishing Association of South Africa (Pasa) and the Fibre, Processing and Manufacturing Seta (FP&M Seta) have joined forces to encourage skills development in the publishing industry.

In a unique initiative, the SA Book Fair 2015 and the FP&M Seta aim to provide a platform for new publishers to exhibit alongside established leaders in the publishing world. Earlier this year, adverts were placed in newspapers across the country calling for applications.

The response was outstanding and 45 of the publishers who applied will be showcased at the book fair at the Turbine Hall, Newtown, Johannesburg, from Friday July 31 to Sunday August 2.  Publishers funded by the FP&M Seta will be given a stand at the book fair to showcase their books.

They will attend a full-day skills development workshop on publishing and how to grow their businesses. They will also be at the Footnote Summit, which is focused on digital publishing. They will also take part in a workshop session and networking event with seven experienced publishing houses from across Africa, discussing publishing in Africa and the problems and opportunities of the book business in the Global South.

“The role of the SA Book Fair is about inspiring more South Africans to read and to showcase and connect the industry. But it’s also very much about building and supporting the growth of our industry now and in the future, so that the love of books is a legacy passed down for generations,” says Pasa chairperson Brian Wafawarowa.


Felleng Yende, chief executive of FP&M Seta, agrees. “Our focus at FP&M Seta is, and will always be, to maximise skills development and to help build a sustainable future for all. The South African Book Fair provides a platform to develop the skills of a group of new publishers each year, and we are looking forward to interacting with them in our workshops at the Fair.”   

The fair has other sessions about publishing, including:

  • Publishing children’s literature in indigenous languages, facilitated by the Puku Children’s Literature Foundation.
  • Editing workshop – This 50-minute hands-on workshop provides insight into whether editing is meant for you.
  • How to make a book – What’s involved in creating a book, so helping to identify skills needed for a career in publishing.
  • Get published – The inside scoop on taking your writing from manuscript to published book. Mark Winkler talks about how he broke through the “lit” barrier, and publishers give tips and suggestions about digital versus physical books and how to get published.

“The publishing industry is evolving”, says Wafawarowa, “and the SA Book Fair’s programme is geared towards supporting and facilitating this evolution. New technologies have forced us to redefine what we do and how we continue to bring the written word to the world. 

By supporting new publishers, we hope to encourage a young generation of gifted and passionate publishers and writers who will bring new ideas and solutions to our exciting and very necessary industry.”

For more information on FP&M Seta, go to: fpmseta.org.za

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