Bellagio Publishing Network  

 BPN Newsletter Issue No 25, July 1999 


Bulawayo Book Fair, March 1999

Trish Mbanga
Trish Mbanga is Director of the Zimbabwe International Book Fair, PO Box CY 1179, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe. Tel +263 4 702104/108, fax +263 4 702129; e-mail:

In preparation for the Zimbabwe International Book Fair (ZIBF), the theme of this year's Bulawayo Book Fair was 'women'. This probably contributed to the large turnout - 6,440 people visited the fair, from Harare, Binga and other districts of Matabeleland, which was well above last year's figure of 5,000. The Book Purchase Scheme draw was also a crowd puller and resulted in at least $20,000 being spent by the ten libraries which each won book vouchers of $2,000.

The programme of events included a number of workshops. The Writers Workshop, organised by ZIBF, was opened by poet, writer, publisher and politician Cain Mathema. There was a resounding response to the Skills Sharing Workshop, also organised by the ZIBF for everyone with a flair for writing - 106 people turned up as opposed to the expected 60, and the Bulawayo Book Fair organisers plan to make this workshop an annual event as a means of identifying and developing untapped talent.

Workshops on gender issues included a Women Writers Workshop, organised by the Zimbabwe Women Writers Association, as well as the Women's Experiences with AIDS Workshop which the Association organised in conjunction with the Matabeleland AIDS Council. There were workshops on the Implications of Poverty on Women and Women and their Health. The Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association addressed the issue of Women and the Constitution, and the Zimbabwe Women's Resource Centre Network looked at the topic of Gender and Development.

The Zimbabwe Book Development Council once again ran the Children's Reading Tent where a series of seminars to commemorate the National Book Week was held. [end] [BPN, no 25, 1999, p 7]

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