The fair was inaugurated in the South Africa stand by, among others, the country’s Deputy Minister of Culture, Nocawe Mafu. This year’s South Africa theme was actually supposed to be implemented in 2020 and has had time to grow since then. The focus is on contemporary South Africa and on location in Gothenburg are representatives from a generation of writers who were born free, after apartheid.
But the Swedish artist Mikael Wiehe also participates because of his opposition to the former apartheid regime.
— It has been very important for us not to get stuck in historical South Africa. At the same time, there will be conversations about the apartheid era, which still characterizes much of the literature, it is included as an important part of the program, not least the strong relations that Sweden and South Africa had at the time, says Oskar Ekström, the fair’s program manager, and talks about Swedish actors who contacted themselves to participate in this year’s fair.
Will book and literature lovers crowd Gothenburg in the same way as before the pandemic? It remains to be seen.
But when Frida Edman, the person in charge of the fair, summarized the experience of last year’s empty pandemic fair, it was with the observation that “the physical meeting is superior”.
The 2021 fair was a kind of pandemic-adapted hybrid between the physical and digital that attracted 6,709 physical visits, which can be compared to the pre-pandemic 86,000 visits in 2019.
This year, too, the investment at the Play Book Fair continues. As a direct consequence of the digital adaptation during the pandemic, 220 of this year’s 320 seminars are broadcast live, which can also be viewed afterwards.