It is the Kingsmead Book Fair on Saturday, 21 May 2022 which means it’s time to go and peruse the panels and BOOK. Don’t leave it too late, dear reader, or you might find you don’t get to see your fave authors in action.
It’s so exciting that the fair is going to be an in-person event this year after no fair in 2020 and a virtual fair in 2021. I’ve been thinking of past fairs and remembering some of my favourite moments; at #KBF16 Paige Nick and I competed to be top of the leaderboard but got beaten by 702 and then later on declared a cease fire and sat with my two husbands (the real husband and my work husband, Ryno Posthumus) and listened to classical music as the sun set and the stars came out. At #KBF17, I remember huddling in a tent with bestselling author Lesley Pearse after our panel because it was so freezing and Lesley had only brought summer clothes, swilling wine and recreating the cover of her book The Woman in the Wood. I have so many fantastic memories and I’m looking forward to making more this year.
Yes, dear reader, the Chasing Marian crew will be appearing at the fair, and because I was too lazy to write this whole blog myself, I thought I would ask the other members of the Awesome Foursome – Qarnita Loxton, Amy Heydenrych and Gail Schimmel – a few questions. I also did not let the fact that Gail was on holiday deter me:
Me: Tell me about your memories of KBF…
Qarnita: May 2020 was supposed to be the year I got to Kingsmead for the first time ever – and it was going to be BIG because I was to meet up with Gail, Pam and Amy … and Marian Keyes! We were to be best friends and I was to talk about my book Being Shelley that had just been published.
Never could I have dreamed that two years would just *poof* disappear, and that instead of meeting Marian we would write a novel about four characters trying to meet her. We had such fun working on it and I figure that’s about as big a zap sign as we could ever give to covidus interruptus [YES!!]
Amy: The first time I attended the Kingsmead Book Fair as an audience member, I was blown away by the electric vibe of the event. Maybe it’s because of so many authors in one space, speaking over the course of one day, but you feel as if you are in the presence of big ideas.
Me: Earth to Gail, I know you’re on holiday but where’s my thing for KBF? Put down that gin and write!
Gail: I thought I was the bossy one. You are waaay more bossy.
Me: Why, yes. Yes, I am. So, tell me your favourite memory of KBF…
Gail: It’s actually weirdly random. In the time leading up to that particular Kingsmead, I had become great twitter buddies with Ndumiso Ngcobo – I can’t remember why, or what had brought us into the same twitter space.
Anyway, as I was squeezing through some tightly packed space, I bumped into Ndumiso. We both glanced down at each other’s name tags (I LOVE wearing name tags – I wish everyone did, always [YES!!]) and flung our arms around each other with great joy.
It was random and joyful and very symbolic of the friendship amongst South African writers.
Me: Tell me about the panels that you’re all on?
Amy: This year, I’m honoured to be on a panel with my Chasing Marian authors, where we may or may not reveal who wrote each character [CUE DRUM ROLL!!] I’m also putting my sinister thriller hat back on as I interview Irma Venter, Vivian De Klerk and Nathi Olifant on the creative process of creating monsters.
Gail: Well, one of them’s with you…
Me: Yes, and…?
Gail: There’s also one called Dun, dun, dun. . . Or could it be duh, duh, duh . . . either way, it’s about suspense in writing. I’m the interviewer on this one, and I am speaking to Sally Andrew and Quraisha Dawood and Penny Haw about their books. I have read Quraisha and Sally so far and am thinking that the panel should actually be called Yum, yum, yum.
Me: And which panels are you looking forward to?
Qarnita: This is my struggle with Kingsmead 2022 – it’s just so hard to pick which sessions to go to, there are so many people I’d love to see in action. There’s Shana Fife, Yewande Omotoso, Lorraine Sithole, Cathy-Park Kelly, Joanne Joseph, Michelle Edwards and A’Eysha Kassiem just to name drop a few (this is NOT an exhaustive list at all, so many people – so short the day).
Amy: There are a few sessions I’ve bookmarked to attend – I’m a big fan of Finuala Dowling and Yewande Omotoso, so can’t wait to hear them, along with Karen Jennings, in conversation with Alma-Nalisha Cele. And of course, I will be catching my fellow co-authors’ panels where I can, because I can’t get enough of them [MWAH!]
Gail: I’m kind of living one day at a time at the moment so I haven’t even dipped into all the wonderful offerings yet.
Me: Okay, and Gail, please tell us about the new book you’ve got coming out?
Gail: So, I’m half a cozy mystery writer – Kate Sidley and I write as Katie Gayle. We’ve got a new series launching on 5 May and we are really excited – early reviews have been excellent, and it stars my Labrador, Jake.
Me: Thank you all so much. Sorry for interrupting your work/holidays—
Gail: You’re not really sorry.
Me: #SorryNotSorry. I am BEYOND excited and I can’t WAIT for us all to be together at #KBF22.
Oh, and my recommendation would be that you also go check out the Youth Festival, dear reader, because there are some stunning authors on that including my mate, Refiloe Moahloli, old drama school buddy, Maryanne Bester and the fab Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu. Plus, there’s the Young Writer’s Competition that is part of the youth festival. The competition closes at midnight on 16 May 2022 so go check out the rules and start writing.
Have a great long weekend, everyone and happy reading! xxx