Thursday 14 May 2015

It's a kind of magic

“Should we, shouldn’t we?”

“It’s quite a lot of work” Don’t laugh, but we had six adult and four children’s sessions to plan. We were stressed. All six of us.

“I would love a book fair.”

“Me too, but will it be supported?” We eventually decided we’d try it – just this once on 7 June 2011, and probably drop it the next year.

Still feeling very unsure, we started planning. We had two venues – one for kids and one for adults, and we panicked that the kids wouldn’t behave in the library.

Thank God for Killing Kebble. It was perfect timing and a huge story. We ran around for a few days telling ourselves “Mandy Wiener’s really coming”, hoping it was true, not believing our luck. Jenny Crwys-Williams agreed to MC, and suddenly, we started getting excited.

We made many mistakes. We couldn’t use the school hall – I think there was play practice. We served gluhwein and soup and rolls, which no one had time to buy – the break wasn’t long enough to buy food and eat it. The gym was bitterly cold.

And yet the evening was warm, cosy, entertaining, enlightening, and deeply satisfying.

We loved the authors – their humility, generosity, friendliness and pleasure at being invited. I remember the enraptured little faces in the library, aglow with the delight of Gina Mhlophe’s world. Chris van Wyk joked as I escorted him from the gym to the kids’ venue. Mandy Wiener came running up to us, and expressed her pleasure at finally meeting him, and how she admired his work – such a special moment.

Afterwards, no one wanted to leave. Conversations sparkled like fairy lights in the festive atmosphere, a campfire blazing with the warmth of connection. And why has it grown from strength to strength? We discovered a magic that night,that the Kingsmead family didn’t know we had. It was in sharing the joy of books with the authors that have created them and with one another. Now this special event is all grown-up, and yet retains the magic. It's on the 23rd May. Don’t miss it. Kingsmead Book Fair

Belinda Bauer will be at this year's Book Fair. I reviewed The Shut Eye - such a good read!

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