Farewell to Boekehuis Bookshop, Johannesburg

13 Mar 2012

Corina van der Spoel of Boekehuis was host at the launch of African Road – New writing from southern Africa 2006, our volume of new writing for that year. Auckland Park neighbour, SABC, was there to cover the launch. The HSBC/SA PEN Literary Award winners who shared the $10 000,00 prize money that year were:

1st: Sean O’Toole for “The road to Rephile”
2nd: Elizabeth Ann Pienaar for “Breaking down the house”
3rd: Justin Fox for “Big Game”
Honourable mention: Lee Olivier for “A death too soon”

Boekehuis was the Naspers flagship bookshop of Johannesburg and its demise is mourned by many – including SA PEN. We would like to say thank you Corina for your positive bookselling role. The vagaries of the market are a reality for all publishing companies today and I would also like to thank Ton Vosloo, Chairman of Naspers, for his company’s loyal financial support of PEN over the years.

SA PEN itself needs to be aware of the realities of the market and I am sad to announce that our PEN “New Writing” series ended with the publication of African Pens 2011 by Jacana Media in May last year. We are looking at alternative ways of encouraging young writers in the 15 countries of the Southern African Development Community.

“Littera scripta manet”, the written word remains. Despite the exponential growth of the ebook market, quality print-products and quality writing will survive. Global systems of information delivery are changing so rapidly. Despite an exciting digital future for writers, the printed book will still find its niche in local and regional markets. Digital delivery may win globally, traditional local bookshops may be obliged to close, but “software” from writers will still rule!

Delivery is one skill – creation another!

Corina, will you perhaps be managing a global literary website to be called – WRITE24?

Thank you.