Since its very beginnings, one of the main focus of the Pontas Agency has been African literature. Today, 26 years later, we’re proud to represent a wide diversity of literary voices coming from all the African continent that we push into the world. In order to meet some of the Pontas clients and to meet new writers, Anna Soler-Pont and Maria Cardona attended the Open Book Festival, taking place in Cape Town from September 5th to 9th 2018. Anna participated in a panel at the Book Lounge bookshop to discuss international rights and literary agencies, together with Aoife Lennon-Ritchie.
Meeting Imraan Coovadia, author of the recently launched novel A Spy in Time, on top of the Table Mountain was one of the highlights of our stay in Cape Town, together with the serendipitous discovery the amazing brand new restaurant Belly of the Beast with Megan Ross, where we talked about the success of her poetry book Milk fever. Listening to authors and their new work in progress is always fascinating!
Among all the South African publishing houses, Umuzi/Penguin Random House and Jacana Media are the ones we work the most. It was very nice to catch up them in their hometowns: Fourie Botha in Cape Town; and Bridget Impey and her team in Johannesburg. We had dinner to celebrate that Anna and Bridget met for the first time at the Zimbabwe Book Fair in 1993, and they have maintained their professional link and passion for African literature till now. Jacana is the publisher of Kopano Matlwa, and Umuzi publishes Imraan Coovadia and Masande Ntshanga.
The South African Book Fair is the culmination of South Africa’s National Book Week that is celebrated annually in the first week of September, where new and well-known local writers engage in discussions and debates on current issues, politics, publishing, spoken word performances and more. We wandered around the stands, the Exclusive Books stall and even attended a Poetry Jam Session.