The Rutanang Book Fair 2017, the second edition of the South African festival, was hosted from May 2-4. This year the events would happen virtually.
The Rutanang Book Fair 2016 was hosted in the South African town of Tlokwe from April 25-27. The festival brought together many of South Africa’s leading writers and we loved every minute of our time there. We got to meet people like Sabata-Mpho Mokae, Mbe Mbhele’s and Mpho Matsitle and many others in a well organised, well attended literary festival. We loved the event so much that we gave it our first best new literary festival when we were handing out our end of year honours.
In spite it being such a great event, the festival organisers in 2017 would fail to get financing for their festival at the second time of reckoning. For many this would be a body blow but not the team in Tlokwe as they decided that the way to go would be the way that the world is headed; virtually. They would host the writers and others that would have been in the event and had people engage them over the interwebs primarily Facebook and Twitter. The team was supported by 1001 Bookish Things, Charmza Literary Club, and the Agang Sechaba Book Club.
As you would expect of a physical literary festival there would be author Interviews, book readings, book reviews and discussions of different topics under the sun. Some of these topics included The beauty of Reading for fun, embracing the digital space, children literature, WhyWeRead, and #ShareABook
The guests who agreed to join this crazy experiment were Futhi Ntshingila, Babongile Zulu, Kholofelo Maenetsha, Zanele Dlamini, Leleti The Author, Tiisetso Thiba, Shubnum Khan, Sabata Mpho Mokae, Lorna Monco, and Charmaine Kolwane Mrwebi.
So how was the event received online? Very well if the reactions from tweeps and Facebookers were to be taken with many taking an opportunity to engage with their favourite authors.
Here are some images and videos from some of the engagements over the three days in May.