13th Ghana International Book Fair

I did go to the 13th GIBF (Ghana International Book Fair) but I admit it was on the last day – Saturday 7 November.  So if I sound a bit disappointed, maybe that is the reason.  Several of the stands had no one there so I guess the companies/organizations felt it wasn’t worth their while to be there on a Saturday.  I did notice several representatives of mostly Indian printing companies which was quite interesting.

The other issue which slightly bothered me was the fact that there was going to be a launch of a book about Ghana’s President in the late 1970s/early 1980s, Dr Hilla Limann, which I hadn’t heard about!  So I had to make do with online reviews.  And eventually I will see, and probably buy,  a copy of the actual book.

I admit I had originally thought I would be able to attend earlier in the week, but that didn’t work out.

This is not to say that I didn’t buy anything; I did.  A couple of children’s books as gifts and a couple of adult books for work – all from Sub-Saharan Publishers who I am always happy to support, plus I usually find they have something which interests me.

Caine prize 2015 front cover 500I am looking forward to seeing and buying a copy of the latest Caine Prize collection of short stories which Sub-Saharan are co-publishing with New Internationalist, and other publishers on the African continent.

I always wonder how many people go to these Ghana International Book Fairs…

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Upcoming literary and bookish events in Accra

The next ten days or so promises to be full of various bookish and literary events, which I am very much looking forward to.

  1. Ghana Association of Writers Book Festival (GAWBOFEST) takes place on Friday 21 September 2012 at the National Theatre, here in Accra – in theory from 08.00.  Realistically as it is a public holiday, probably from around 09.30 or so.  Lots of activities according to an advert but no real programme available online, at least as far as I can tell.  I shall go, at least briefly.
  2. 11th Ghana International Book Fair, which takes place from Monday 24th to Saturday 29th September, again at the National Theatre.  Book sales and exhibitions are of course the main part of this event, but there will be other parts, including meetings, and the formal launch of the Burt Award 2011 winning books.  For more details, see their website.  Always on my list of events to attend, and spend money at!
  3. Writers Project of Ghana monthly readings, on Wednesday 26 September, at the Goethe Institut, with Nigeria writer, Chuma Nwokolo.
  4. Accra Book Club’s monthly gathering, with a discussion of Esi Edugyan’s Half-blood blues, which I have nearly finished [having no electricity at home for nearly 48 hours definitely does not help my reading!]
  5. A biannual meeting of the Consortium of Academic & Research Libraries in Ghana (CARLIGH) at the end of next week – good to meet fellow librarians.

So I will definitely be busy, and if I get my act together, I should actually do some posting as well!

Visits to Ghana International Book Fair 2010

I did visit the Ghana International Book Fair 2010 at the Ghana Trade Fair site in Accra twice, but didn’t attend any of the related functions, so of course what I have to say is purely limited to the actual exhibition space, rather than any of the associated activities.

This year the venue of the GIBF shifted back to the Ghana Trade Fair  from the National Theatre where it has been held for the last several [I’m afraid I don’t remember how many] years.

I guess each venue has its advantages and disadvantages – and being on several floors at the National Theatre could definitely be considered a disadvantage, with some members of the public being unwilling to move upstairs.  Similarly some may have found it a bit of an effort to move out of the main exhibition space to where one exhibitor – EPP – usually had its space.  I guess also if there were a lot of visitors, then it could seem to be a bit crowded.

So, obviously one of the main advantages of the Trade Fair is that it is big, with plenty of space – but it seems to me to be almost be tooo much space.  Although stands were allocated, according to the Fair brochure, to companies, there were lots of empty spaces, and even on the last day, the venue could hardly be called crowded!

As there was no admission fee, I also wondered how the organisers were able to get a tally of numbers of visitors…

My other “beef” is with the attitude of some of the people working on the stands, and this is not just at the Book Fair, but other events at the Trade Fair.  I know that it is warm, and perhaps nothing much is going on, but to me “sleeping” while on duty is not really acceptable, and in my view reflects on the company an individual is supposed to be representing.  Of course exhibitors could make sure that those manning the stands run shifts, rather than “working” a 12-hour day?

I didn’t buy many books, but then that is not too surprising, as the orientation of the Fair was very much towards child literacy.  Nevertheless, I look forward to the next one!