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Books to speak out

Books have all the time and space to speak, sing and dance, dine and wine when the Malawi Book Festival debuts today at Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe.

The Malawi Book Festival spearheaded by Book Publishers Association of Malawi (Bpam) starts today through to Saturday where books will be headliners.

The festival running under the theme Book at Home, Partner for Life and funded by Hivos through the Cultural Fund for Malawi, will officially be opened by Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development Cecilia Chazama.

Bpam President Alfred Msadala, who is also a renowned poet and author, said yesterday that this is an important national event destined to remind Malawians that a book is an asset.

“This festival is there not just to make up numbers for the festivals on the ground but rather it is a festival that is destined to remind Malawians that a book is an asset for every home. The book is conveyer for language aimed at informing, educating and entertaining,” Msadala said.

He said these lessons have been packaged in the programme.

“Let us meet at the festival. It is free for a purpose and the idea is to reach out to all citizens,” said the author of A Ragged Portfolio of My Portrait, A Rumbling Journey Towards the Joys of Writing Memoirs.

The programme indicates that the minister will open the festival today before the activities from outreach stations from among others Mlonda Primary School Reading Circle (Nsanje), Namisu Women Reading Club (Blantyre), Jalo Primary School Reading Circle (Nkhotakota) and Mphande Primary School Reading Circle in Mwanza.

This activity in the afternoon will be moderated by story teller Nancy Phiri before entertainment activities late on which will include poetry recitals and acoustic music to be moderated by writer Shadreck Chikoti.

Tomorrow the activities will include a publishing workshop to be moderated by Dr James Ng’ombe and presentations on the Copyright Act 2016.

There will also be a cultural evening on the day.

The festival will end on Saturday with a story-telling session.

“As we said earlier we are done with the preparations and now it’s time for people to enjoy the festival. We urge Malawians of all ages to come and sample Malawian book market. We are providing for all ages and classes of our society,” he said.

Msadala also hailed National Library Service for the support saying as principal partners, they would be mounting children’s corner so that those who bring children should comfortably settle as adults will be moving from stall to stall.

Msadala, who also pens a column titled Literary Talk in The Sunday Times said as Bpam their mandate is representing, promoting and protecting by all rightful means the interests of book/book related materials and journal publishers.

“Our project title for the next five years is Taking the Book Back to the Society.

In our strategic plan, we want to implement projects that address gaps such as inadequate publishing skills and competences and deterioration of reading culture,” Msadala said.

With technology taking its toll, people no longer have interest to read books with many only have time to read them during studies.

“Many people have associated the book with school but a book should start from home. The problem is that people think a book is for studies only,” Msadala said.

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