Despite the chill from the cold front that hit Joburg this week, bookworms crowded into the iconic Market Theatre Foundation in Newtown on Thursday to hear about this year’s South African Book Fair, which is being incorporated into National Book Week. Hot drinks and sweet treats were served before the formalities began.Richard Nwamba, radio show host of The African Connection on SAfm, was the MC, and he was as charismatic and funny in person as he is on the radio.Book week will take place next month across the country, and the campaign will be rolled out to semirural and rural areas, said Elitha van der Sandt, the CEO of the SA Book Development Council. “Books have been kept away from 90% of our people,” she said, and added that the industry faced the difficult task of undoing what apartheid had created.Nikki Crowster, the president elect of the Library and Information Association of SA, added that “we don’t know each other’s stories”.As such, #OurStories will be a recurring theme throughout the campaign, which is aimed at creating awareness around the nation’s stories as a collective, as well as the need to get to know one another despite different backgrounds and social standings. Poet and author Koleka Putuma recited some of her poems from Collective Amnesia, an anthology that was published in April and has already seen phenomenal success, with about 2 500 copies sold. An award of recognition was presented to Joseph Lamani – the Most Innovative National Book Week Programme in 2016. He led a march in Nelson Mandela Bay from the city centre to the town hall to call attention to the fact that people do not read enough. “When all the protests were going on around the country, Joseph led this march, which shows how passionate he is about reading and books. He marched for books!” Van der Sandt said. Guests enjoyed an array of tapas after the proceedings, which included sushi, beef and pea curry, and vegetable Thai curry – a welcome winter warmer as the wind gusted noisily outside.The South African Book Fair will run from September 8 to 10 at Museum Africa in Newtown, Johannesburg.