Author relishes book fair participation

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RENOWNED Bulawayo-based author Bryony Rheam is elated after her successful participation at the 2020 Cairo International Book Fair.

Rheam, whose debut novel, This September Sun, was first published in Zimbabwe in 2009, was a guest at the just ended fair where she led discussions about her highly regarded novel.

The award-winning book was launched at the fair at the beginning of 2019, having been translated into Arabic and published by the Egyptian publisher, Al-Arabi.

“The trip was very successful, although quite short, so I had to pack a lot in. I got to meet my Arabic publishers and also a number of other authors from around the world.

“The discussion was very interesting. Many people there did not know much about Zimbabwe’s history so they were keen to find out more,” she told the Daily News soon after her return.

While there Rheam managed to have her copies, which were translated into Arabic, sold as she also managed to sign quite a number of copies. “The people are very friendly. Although there are 22 million people in Cairo, I did not feel unsafe. The readers I spoke to were genuinely interested in the book and finding out more about how and why I wrote it.”

The book fair is the largest and oldest in the Arab world, held every year since 1969, and Al-Arabi has exhibited at the fair for 40 years. Last year the fair attracted two-and-a-half million visitors.

This September Sun is the first Africa-centred novel translation for Al-Arabi that has over the past four decades brought to its readers a wide range of political readings on Africa.

The timelessness and popularity of the book is shown by the work having been translated and made available in hard copy across the Arab world.

This September Sun was also well received in Zimbabwe. It won the Best First Book at the Zimbabwe Book Publishers Awards and was selected as a set book for Zimsec “A” Level Literature in English. It was published in Kenya and in the United Kingdom it topped the Amazon sales charts.

Rheam’s other books include All Come to Dust and The Dying of the Light which is close to completion.

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