When Will E-books be the Answer for Africa’s Readers?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka Today’s story about Nigeria’s Cassava Republic suggests that e-books may be the perfect means of overcoming African publishing’s printing and distribution problems. Of course, as the publisher in the story notes, there still isn’t that much Internet penetration, but it is improving. At what point do you foresee e-books being a viable distribution channel for Africa, the …

Feeding the African Imagination: Nigeria’s Cassava Republic

In English Language by Guest Contributor

By Belinda Otas and Tolu Ogunlesi ABUJA: Nigeria may not be the ideal place to start a publishing company, but Bibi Bakare-Yusuf and Jeremy Weate were crazy enough to take a chance. In 2006 the husband-and-wife team founded Cassava Republic, a publishing house with the goal of “feeding the African imagination” through stories taken from contemporary African life. When they …

Is Labeling a Writer by Race or Ethnicity Too Reductive?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka In today’s lead story, Nigerian-born author Chika Unigwe, who now lives in Belgium, states: “I’m African, and I never question my African identity. What I question sometimes are the expectations that come with being labeled an ‘African writer.’ What you are supposed to write, how you are supposed to write and so on. But then that is …

Chika Unigwe on the Streets of Antwerp

In Europe by Guest Contributor

By Belinda Otas TURNHOUT, BELGIUM: “I think what I hoped they would get from it is the same thing that I got from the girls; which was, basically, some of us can’t afford to have shame,” says Afro-Belgian author Chika Unigwe, whose second novel On Black Sisters’ Street, a chronicle of the lives of four African women (three Nigerian and a …

The Internet is Africa’s “Gutenberg Moment”

In Growth Markets by Guest Contributor

By Tolu Ogunlesi “There are lively publishing enterprises in different areas of Africa that are not formalized in the European sense. But they exist, they are not cataloged, [they] don’t have ISBN numbers… there’s no systemic way of tracking and engaging these enterprises…” said Muhtar Bakare, founder of Kachifo Limited, an independent literary publishing house in Lagos, Nigeria, during a …

Is Africa Hot or Not?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka Every couple of years a new African writer appears to take the publishing world by storm. Two recent examples include the literary-minded Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, whose Half of a Yellow Sun won both the Orange Prize for Fiction in the United Kingdom and a $500,000 MacArthur genius grant in the United States. And on the commercial side, …

Bonus Material: Are African and Asian Writers Compromised by Writing in English?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka In our profile of the international literary magazine Wasafiri, Kenyan novelist Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o suggests that Africans and Asian writers who want a global audience need to be published in English. English does offers both a gateway to a broader international readership and a larger pool of potential translators. That said, it’s also a form of compromise …

Bonus Material: Wasafiri’s 25 Books That Shaped World Lit

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka LONDON: Wasafiri is the Kiswahili word for “travelers.” It is also the name of the esteemed UK literary quarterly focused on international writing. Founded in 1984 by Susheila Nasta, the magazine celebrates its 25th anniversary this month with 25 writers offering their picks for the book that most shaped world literature since the magazine’s inception.  Among those …

Kenya’s Storymoja Strives to Connect the African Continent

In Feature Articles by Guest Contributor

By Tolu Ogunlesi NAIROBI: “Words are the most important thing about coming together, said Kate Adie, the BBC’s former Chief News Correspondent, “and that is what Storymoja is all about.” Adie was speaking in Nairobi at a party held to round off this year’s Storymoja Hay Festival, which took place from July 31 to August 2. It is the first spin-off …

Bonus Material: An African Short Story Renaissance

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka In Africa, short story writing is thriving and the £10,000 Caine Prize for African Writing has had a great deal to do with this resurgence. The prize is given for a previously published work of fiction not longer than 10,000 words written in English by an African. It is named for the late Sir Michael Caine, former Chairman of …