Göteborg Book Fair 2020 present three themes

South Africa, READ! READ! READ! and Digital culture at the 2020 Book Fair

The 2020 Guest of Honour country will be South Africa. In addition, two other themes will be permeating the Book Fair: reading, under the theme name READ! READ! READ! and Digital Culture.

South Africa and Sweden have close relationships and strong ties that date back to the 1960s, when Sweden provided political and humanitarian support in the fight against apartheid. Book Fair Director Frida Edman states that the Guest of Honour theme is not least about lifting today’s stories from a country rich in literature with eleven official languages, an emerging women’s struggle and many young poets.

Formally the National Library of South Africa and The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture in South Africa are collaborating partners in the Guest of Honour theme. The programme will also be developed with a number of organisations from the civil society, amongst them the Olof Palme Center and the Swedish Church.

– We are honoured to be the Guest of Honour at the Göteborg Book Fair 2020 and are delighted to take this fantastic opportunity to present our rainbow nation and share our languages, writers, artists, storytellers and rich cultural heritage. The 2020 Book Fair will celebrate South Africa’s outstanding literary talents and become a platform for dialogue and skills development, social cohesion and tolerance, says Mr. Vusumuzi Mkhize, Director General at the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture in South Africa.

During this year’s Book Fair, several talks have touched on the latest reports that point to both reduced sales of childrens’ books and youth literature and young people’s reduced reading habits. Reading-promoting efforts are always a priority issue for the Göteborg Book Fair. With the theme READ! READ! READ! the Book Fair wants to lift reading with Läsrörelsen, the Reading Movement, as its main partner.

– When Läsrörelsen (The Reading Movement), started at the Book Fair in 2000 and took the motto ”Give your children a language”, it was based on a dramatic reduction in parents’ reading for their children. For 20 years, with the help of experts, we have carried out nationwide projects and initiatives with book publishers, libraries, schools of all stages as well as commercial companies. Together with many partners, we are now mobilizing for a threatening language poverty through a commitment to reading in all its forms, says Elisabet Reslegård, Chair of Läsrörelsen, (The Reading Movement).

By meeting children and young people where they are, the Book Fair wants to build bridges between reading and digital culture. Therefore, the theme Digital culture was also launched during the closing press conference. Theme partners include Göteborg & Co, Gothenburg’s destination development company, Rainy Lab, experts in digital games and digital democracy, and Playcentric Studios, that works for inclusion, accessibility and diversity in gaming culture and game development.

– Digital and network-based environments today make up a major part of people’s everyday lives, especially for children and young people. Understanding each other’s cultural expression and learning is central to also creating understanding between generations. Through the themes READ! READ! READ! and Digital Culture, we build bridges between reading and digitalisation, and let the story remain in focus, says Frida Edman, Book Fair Director.

The Göteborg Book Fair will take place 24–27 September 2020.