Readersforum's Blog

November 2, 2012

If you build it, they will come

By Denis Beckett

This is a tale of the Karoo, of a dry, dry, dusty, dusty bit of it. Ah, as I write I feel koppie beneath my feet; clear crisp view to forever.

This is a tale of the Karoo today, but it begins far away in 1960. Hay-on-Wye – un-dry, un-dusty, where England meets Wales – was heading for its 900th birthday and was in trouble. Time and change had swallowed its economy.

So it rebuilt itself, on books; on talking books, reading books, ogling books, selling books. It called itself “Booktown Hay” and it created a phenomenon. Its annual festival fills 100 000 beds. It became grandaddy of 28 booktowns from Jinbocho, Japan, to Archer, Texas, via Bosu-dong, South Korea, and Redu, Belgium.

There were booktowns in every continent except Africa.

And then, in 2007, along came a rare figure, an Indian professor of Afrikaans. Darryl David took leave from UKZN to tour SA looking for a booktown. He scrutinised dorp after dorp and explained per internet why this one, that one, the next one, wouldn’t do.

Then he came to Richmond, and explained why it would do.

Click here to read the rest of this story


Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: