Hout Bay Book Owls aim to keep the book alive

Hout Bay Book Owls.

They’re not trying to be high tech, but rather aiming to break down the barriers between readers and writers and create opportunities for them to connect, socialise and to keep the book alive.

Hout Bay Book Owls, a fledgling organisation, will launch on Friday February 15 in its first public event at the Hout Bay library community hall in their quest to connect readers and writers in the community.

Writer Consuelo Roland who came up with the Hout Bay Book Owls initiative, said the motive behind it was going back to the simplicity of loving books.

“The idea has been coming along for the last two years, but the book owl concept happened in August last year,” said Ms Roland.

“Usually we are out there networking and trying to sell our books, but this will be different because as writers, we become absorbed in the job of selling our books and we forget the real reason why we write.

“It was at one of my workshops where I realised this.

“Also, statistics are showing that people are reading more… the way we access stories might be different but there’s a lot of young people reading,” she said.

Ms Roland had previously worked in the information technology industry but later followed her passion for writing and registered for a creative writing course at the University of Cape Town – and went on to write three novels, with the first one being published in 2004.

“We’ve had a couple of small events which were really good. Nobody was trying to sell their books, it was just people who got together for the love of books.

“We’ve also got a bookshelf at Deli Delish where people can read a book while having a cup of coffee, and if they like one of the books, they can go to their local bookshop to support the author and buy the book,” said Ms Roland.

Close friend and writer, Helen Niven, will lead proceedings at the launch which will host writers Peter Kuhnert and Alan Whelan on an evening themed, Tales of African Adventures.

“This will be our first big public event and it’s going to take a long time to get it where we want it to be.

“But as our mission statement, it’s about bringing readers and writers together, giving them an opportunity to socialise,” said Ms Niven.

“There’s no criteria for becoming a book owl. You don’t have to be a published author or an aspiring writer. It’s about an opportunity to socialise with like-minded people.

“On the night, Peter will be speaking about his first published book which is called Horn. It is a story but it’s about his own experiences about rhino poaching. Alan has also just published a book called Mandela Park, which is set in Mandela Park but it is a work of fiction.

“I’ll be asking them questions and they will briefly speak about their books before Kronendal Music Academy performs,” she said.

For more information, you can contact the Hout Bay Book Owls via their Facebook page. The launch starts at 6pm and entry fee is R30 each, payable at the door.