Youth Publishing Project Pulls Together

School learners at both primary and secondary levels have the opportunity to become published authors through the Durban International Book Fair’s (#DIBF2023) Harambee project.

The concept draws on the KiSwahili word meaning “all pull together” and invites learners to submit short stories or poems along that theme. The #DIBF2023 LitFest takes place in August in Africa’s only UNESCO city of literature with the organizers keen to mobilize young people to participate.

Author and academic Dr. Phindile Dlamini who heads up the University of KwaZulu-Natal Press said that they were excited to be part of promoting a new generation of authors. “When it comes to youth, we usually focus on reading but here we have an avenue for young people to get into print and have their work reach a global audience,” added Dlamini.

Her sentiments were echoed by Zandile Qono, the chairperson of the book fair NPO which has launched no fewer than 350 new books since its inception five years ago. “Stories and poems may be submitted in either IsiZulu or English to go into two volumes,” said Qono.

Submissions with a maximum 2000 word count are invited from schools and individuals for consideration by a panel of assessors. “Those that make the cut both in content and the space available in the two volumes will be paid an honorarium of R250 as well as a book hamper valued at R1000 for their school libraries,” added Qono. The learners’ work will be showcased at the event from 9-13 August at The Globe theatre, Suncoast on Durban’s iconic Golden Mile.

According to Dlamini, this is likely the only international book fair that takes place right on the beach. The last event in 2022 saw almost 4000 attendees from countries as diverse as Nigeria, China, India and Indonesia. Qono added that the special effort to invite postgraduate students and school learners will be doubled up this year.

Schools and teachers are urged to contact the organizers to arrange school trips to the Fair especially on 10 and 11 August, when a series of book launches and workshops will take place for learners.

The organizers may be reached on and the NPO’s social media platforms. Entries close on 31 May 2023 with publication anticipated by the end of July.

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