The Zimbabwe International Book Fair (ZIBF) is one of the most iconic book fairs held on the African continent. It is a commercial marketing event of books published both within and outside the African continent. It also nurtures budding writers through events such as the Writers Workshop and The Indaba. It is an event which is held annually in Harare (in the Harare Gardens).
Establishment and Growth
The ZIBF event began in 1983. The idea of organising such an event was muted by David Martin who was the then director of the Zimbabwe Publishing House and Hans Zell who was a member of the then Africa Book Publishing Record. Nathan Shamuyarira who was the then Minister of Information and Broadcasting also supported the efforts of Martin and Zell and they were granted the permission to introduce the event.
In July 1983, the first ZIBF event was held inside the National Art Gallery of Zimbabwe and it was funded by UNESCO. Charles Mungoshi was one of the first Zimbabwean writers whose works were exhibited during the first edition of the ZIBF. In August 1983, UNESCO introduced its own UNESCO Book Week Africa which was modelled more or less like the ZIBF.
In 1997, the event began to encompass other programmes other than marketing books. The event thus became a place where publishers, writers, poets and translators convened. The Writers Workshop and The Indaba were also introduced. Prominent writers such as Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa Mirii, Micere Mugo and Nadine Gordmier addressed on some of these workshops.
In 2006, the Cape Town Book Fair came into being and the organisers of this event professed that they were inspired by the success of the ZIBF. Prior to 2006, the ZIBF was the main book fair in Africa which was internationally recognised. However, since the inception of the Cape Town Book Fair, the ZIBF has been since ranked second on the international arena but it is still an important event in the country.
In 2012, the ZIBF widened its popularity and support base outside Harare. The Bulawayo and Mutare Book Fairs were introduced and in 2013, the Masvingo Book Fair came into being. These boof fairs are however restricted as they are national book fairs but they are also held annually.
Former Directors of the ZIBF
- David Martin
- Anne Knuth
- Hugh Lewis
- Trish Mbanga
- Musayemura Zimunya (is the current director)
- Hosted the Noma Awards for Publishing in Africa (twice).
- Principle Prince Claus Award (in Netherlands) (1997)
- Zimbabwe International Book Fair, 27 years as iconic African book fair, Southern African News Feature, published:29 Jul 2010,retrieved:24 July 2014"
- Norman Muvavarimwe, Zimbabwe International Book Fair Commences In Harare, News Of The South, published:4 Oct 2013,retrieved:24 July 2014"
- Musayemura B. Zimunya, ZIBF PRESS CONFERENCE STATEMENT, Zimbabwe International Book Fair, published:14 Jun 2014,retrieved:24 July 2014"