Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE

Modjaji Books

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

A bouquet of thank yous

This is a public thanks to all of those who constantly support me to keep on keeping on with Modjaji Books. There are so many people if I mention people by name I am sure I will leave people out. I want to say thank you to everyone who is encouraging, who buys books, talks about them, to all the authors that Modjaji has published, to all those who make the books, the editors, proof-readers, designers, printers, cover artists, to the folk at Blue Weaver, to the booksellers who hand sell Modjaji titles, who offer a space to launch new titles, to the journalists and book reviewers who write about the books. To Ben and Bookslive for having given Modjaji a space from Day One. THANK YOU!!

The rest of this post is more specifically about the Frankfurt Book Fair this year. About a month ago I posted on Facebook that I had come to accept that I wouldn’t be going to the Frankfurt Book Fair this year. I have been the past two years as a guest of the German Foreign Office and Litprom as part of the Invitation Programme of the Frankfurt Book Fair. Usually one only gets to go once in this programme, but I was lucky enough to be invited twice. So this year, I have applied for funding from the NAC and from ACT to support some of the work that Modjaji does. Sadly we have been unsuccessful the past few times we have applied.

However, shortly after I posted my little lament about not going to Frankfurt this year, a very kind writer who has asked to remain anonymous offered to sponsor my air ticket and accommodation in Frankfurt. Wow! What an opportunity! I was bowled over, and still am. Then came the next part, as a publisher who operates on a very tight budget (a euphemism) I needed to raise more money to pay for actually being at the Fair, and for buying coffee and sandwiches and bratwurst and beer in Euros. As well as all those other expenses – quickly putting together a rights catalogue, budgetting for having access to the internet …

On Saturday I hosted a tea party and book sale as a fund-raiser for Modjaji Books. It was advertised on the Modjaji Books Facebook page, and I invited many people that I know live in Cape Town individually. Once again I am bowled over by the enormous goodwill there is towards Modjaji Books and what I am trying to do with this publishing enterprise. A number of people who couldn’t come offered their support by buying a ticket to tea or more. Others bought enough tea tickets for a family of six. About 40 people came, and the party itself was a wonderful success.

I have no idea what people chatted about, because I was rushing around filling the kettle, pouring Nuy ‘champagne’ into glasses, cutting slices of my famous pound cake, and slices of gooey salted caramel tart from the Queen of Tarts. Refilling milk jugs, directing people to the books in the lounge, telling people the dates of the Frankfurt Book Fair (9th to 13th October).

One of the highlights of the party was that Tracey Farren, Maire Fisher, Meg Rickards and Jacky Lourens were there. Because of this the party felt as though it was partly a celebration of Whiplash as the first big trade title that Modjaji published, and which is now being made into a movie, by Meg (the director) and Jacky (the producer) and Tracey who has already written the screenplay. Maire was the editor of Whiplash and a passionate friend to Tess (the main character), Tracey and to Modjaji and me.

I was delighted to see people leaving with piles of books (up to 9 or 10 in some cases). Thank you to everyone who came, and to those who didn’t come but still contributed.

I specially want to thank Na’eemah Masoet who is the Modjaji intern this year. She is a wonderful person to work with, organised, imaginative, calm, capable, hard-working. She did the book selling and ticket selling. My eleven year old daughter, Kate also helped her at the beginning.

My friends Colleen Crawford Cousins and Caroline Ward also helped. Colleen brought paper napkins which I’d forgotten to buy, as well as lots of lovely flowers. Caroline helped to unpack tea cups, side plates and glasses from Banks.

And Helen Moffett, who is an incredibly supportive Modjaji matron in her own inimitable way, bought the champagne. I think Helen is one of the people who has bought a copy of every Modjaji title right from the start, and in some cases has bought multiple copies as gifts, and for the Obz library. Thank you everyone. I will write from Frankfurt about what I am experiencing and you will all know that you were part of it. And as Modjaji gets more professional and becomes a bigger player (my dreams and ambitions) you will also know that you were part of building Modjaji Books. Thank you, thank you!

For a couple more pictures click here


Recent comments:

  • Maire
    August 26th, 2013 @12:13 #

    It was a wonderful afternoon Colleen; so lovely to be there. Modjaji holds such a special place in so many of our hearts. I hope you and she have a fine, fab, fun, fund-filled Frankfurt fiesta!

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    August 26th, 2013 @12:41 #

    May you and Modjaji rock on, Colleen. I think it was Finuala Dowling who said that without Modjaji, poetry publishing in this country would be on life-support. One could say the same for short-story publishing by new voices.

    Happy Frankfurting!

    Now, if we can just get the NAC to start funding you... seriously, is there anyone out there who can explain why the NAC consistently turns down Modjaji's funding applications? This isn't a dig: I'm truly puzzled. According to their criteria, Modjaji publishes exactly the kind of books they want to support. *scratches head*


Please register or log in to comment

» View comments as a forum thread and add tags in BOOK Chat