RENOWNED poet and author Don Matterra is among those hoping to promote the value of books at the Mandela Bay Book Fair which opens at the Opera House in Port Elizabeth today.
Matterra, winner of several literary awards including the president's Order of the Baobab, is conducting creative writing workshops.
"I have come to learn and will be meeting youngsters who want to speak about themselves. My role will be to encourage kids about writing, reading and ubuntu," Matterra said last night.
"I am grateful that I am part of this. In this world we are all travellers and we need to leave the right prints. My role is to support whatever the young people are doing and encourage the kids to study."
Matterra, who has family in New Brighton, said he would love the opportunity to just be himself.
"I want to give these youngsters a taste of my work because through it I am able to praise what is good and criticise what is bad. They should be able to find, know and love themselves," he said.
Other guests include poet Ntsiki Mazwai who is launching her book Wena, Muvhango, creator Duma kaNdlovu who is conducting creative and script writing workshops and writer Niq Mhlongo.
Book fair co-founder Ayanda Billie said the fair – a project of the Ikhwelo Writing Project and Imbizo Arts of South Africa – aimed to promote the value and content of books and to promote homegrown writers. "All the other provinces have had book fairs except for the Eastern Cape. We decided to do our own book fair to accommodate community publishers and upcoming writers," he said.
The fair runs from 10.30am to 4pm today and between 9.30am and 4pm tomorrow and Saturday.
The fair is open to the public, and entrance – including workshops – is free.