Nigeria’s Cassava Republic Press to Launch in the UK

In News by Dennis Abrams

Bibi Bakara-Yusef of Cassava Republic Press

Bibi Bakara-Yusef has moved from Ankara to London and has brought her publishing house with her.

Cassava Republic Press, a leading Nigerian publishing house, will launch a full range of titles in the UK market starting in 2016.

By Dennis Abrams

Cassava Republic Press, a leading Nigerian publishing house, has announced that is set to launch its titles the UK in April 2016.

Offering an intriguing list of quality literary fiction, crime, YA fiction, children’s books and romantic fiction all under the Anakra Press imprint, the publisher aims to place a spotlight on the vibrancy and diversity of prose by African writers both on the continent and in the diaspora.

Titles range from Elnathan John’s Born on a Tuesday, which tackles unexplored aspects of friendship, love, trauma, and politics in recent Northern Nigerian history and Sarah Ladipo Manyika’s Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun, a story of aging, friendship, loss, and the erotic yearnings of an older woman; to crime novels like Leye Adenle’s Easy Motion Tourist and H.J. Golokai’s The Lazarus Effect, and Ababukar Adam Ibrahim’s Season of Crimson Blossoms, a gripping story of an affair between a devoted Muslim grandmother and a 25-year-old drug dealer and “political thug” — these books are going to get noticed, and Cassava’s launch list represents an exciting new body of African literature linking writers “across different times and spaces and genres.”

Cassava Republic Press

With headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria, and founder Bibi Bakare-Yusef now based in London, the publisher finds itself in a unique position to bring the finest contemporary African writing direct to UK audiences. Bakara-Yusef is joined in this mission by Emma Shercliff, formerly MD of Macmillan English Campus and head of export sales at Hodder Education, brining a truly international and cross-cultural dynamic to Cassava.

In a press relief, Bibi Bakara-Yusef said:

“It is exciting to be launching Cassava Republic Press in the UK both as an intervention and as an opportunity to introduce the diversity of writings coming out of the continent. What we are doing is unprecedented: an African publishing house establishing a base in the UK after nearly ten years in Africa rather than the reverse. This is the birthing of African publishing onto the world stage.”

Emma Shercliff added:

“Having worked with Cassava Republic in Abuja for almost two years, I am delighted to be starting this new venture with Bibi in London. The feedback we have already received from the UK trade has been fantastic; there is a renewed interest in literature from Africa and we feel particularly excited about introducing some very special authors who are already celebrated in Africa, but practically unknown in the UK, to a wider audience.”

In partnership with the British Council as part of their UK/Nigeria 2015-16 program, Cassava Republic Press will showcase the breadth of talent on the list across UK literature festivals next April.

To listen to a BBC Radio 4 documentary that features several of Cassava’s authors, entitled ‘Writing a New Nigeria,” click here.

To learn more about the authors, click here.

About the Author

Dennis Abrams

Dennis Abrams is a contributing editor for Publishing Perspectives, responsible for news, children’s publishing and media. He’s also a restaurant critic, literary blogger, and the author of “The Play’s The Thing,” a complete YA guide to the plays of William Shakespeare published by Pentian, as well as more than 30 YA biographies and histories for Chelsea House publishers.