Book fair bids to revive literary scene

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Mohalenyane Phakela

IN a bid to revive the waning literary culture in Lesotho, local authors are set to hold a book fair at Lehakoe Club on 30 May.

Speaking to the Weekender this week, one of the event’s organisers, Bantu Lerotholi, said the Basotho Book Fair will showcase the works of established authors to serve as an inspiration for budding writers.

“We will be having motivational speeches and showcasing the works of some of Lesotho’s prominent authors so that they can share their literary journeys in order to motivate the up-and-coming generation of writers,” said Lerotholi who wrote the novel From Highlands to Riches about a poor person from the rural areas who manages to defy the odds and attain success.

Speaking of his book, From Highlands to Riches, Lerotholi said it paints a vivid picture of rural life in Lesotho and its interrelation with modernity.

“It has come to our attention that we, as Basotho writers, do not believe in our work although our writing skills are at par with international standards, so we have lined up a number of speakers to help instill confidence in our up-and-coming writers.

Among the speakers set to make presentations at the fair includes Calvin Motebang, Mohau Mosoeunyane, Chief Justice Nthomeng Majara, Minister of Education Mahali Phamotse and Lerotholi himself.

He added that the initiative was also necessitated by the marked decline of published works in the country and the fair is meant to revive Lesotho’s literary legacy.

“We had very good writers back in the day such as the late Thomas Mofolo whose novel, Chaka, was adapted into a play and movie. His works serve as an inspiration for us as we strive to revive that legacy.

“Lesotho also has many cultural heritage stories that need to be told. Therefore, the event will also help us spot and groom young writers to tell those stories to ensure that our legacy is relayed to the coming generations so that they know where we come from.”

“There are far better writers than me in this country who just need exposure to get off the ground,” he said.

“So we are hoping to strike a deal with Morija Printing Works to print a number of novels every year as we intend to make the fair an annual event.”

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