About the Author

Tolu Ogunlesi

Tolu Ogunlesi was born in 1982. He is the author of a collection of poetry, Listen to the geckos singing from a balcony (Bewrite Books, 2004) and a novella, Conquest & Conviviality (Hodder Murray, 2008). In 2007 he was awarded a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg poetry prize, in 2008 the Nordic Africa Institute Guest Writer Fellowship, and in 2009 a Cadbury Visiting Fellowship by the University of Birmingham. His fiction and poetry have been published in The London Magazine, Wasafiri, Farafina, PEN Anthology of New Nigerian Writing, Litro, Brand, Orbis, Nano2ales, Stimulus Respond, Sable, Magma, Stanford’s Black Arts Quarterly and World Literature Today, among others. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

Going Local: Indian Lit Focuses on Native Languages Over English

In English Language by Tolu Ogunlesi

While many of India’s internationally known authors write in English, national initiatives are focused on promoting India’s native language over English By Tolu Ogunlesi India has four Hindi speakers for every one English speaker. Yet “it is English language publishing in India that gets international — and Indian — attention,” lamented publisher Urvashi Butalia, on Thursday at a Frankfurt Book …

Digital Publishing in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Good News, The Bad News

In Growth Markets by Tolu Ogunlesi

Sub-Saharan Africa’s dearth of cash, political will and a reliable supply of electricity are preventing the “digital revolution” from making large-scale changes in the way Africans read. By Tolu Ogunlesi The Namibian government has a goal of installing computers in every school and every community library in the country by 2014. This is one of the key objectives of the …

Q: What is Global Publishing Worth? A: €80 Billion

In Growth Markets by Tolu Ogunlesi

Ruediger Wischenbart is seeking to undertake an unprecedented project -– the compilation of a comprehensive database of global publishing statistics. By Tolu Ogunlesi LONDON: Publishing — including STM, Educational and Trade material -– is currently estimated at being worth €80 billion and is the second largest creative industry in the world, after television; and is currently bigger than the music …

Can You “Bring Back the Book” to a Country That Can’t Afford to Read?

In Children's, Growth Markets by Tolu Ogunlesi

Nigeria’s President launched a campaign to inspire reading that was part-election, part-Facebook festival and part-magical thinking. Editorial by Tolu Ogunlesi LAGOS: Nigeria has no national funding for the arts, no government-run grants-awarding body to support the production of books, and no National Book Policy. In place of a proper publishing industry, the country is awash with book printers, supporting a flourishing …

The Internet is Africa’s “Gutenberg Moment”

In Growth Markets by Tolu Ogunlesi

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 …

Kenya’s Storymoja Strives to Connect the African Continent

In Feature Articles by Tolu Ogunlesi

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 …

Who Controls African Literature?

In Feature Articles by Tolu Ogunlesi

Editorial by Tolu Ogunlesi LAGOS: The literary world is once again shining a spotlight on Africa. There are new prizes: the South Africa-based PEN Studzinski Literary Award for short stories, and the Penguin Prize for African Writing, a pan-African prize covering both fiction and non-fiction genres. There’s a new book series, the “Penguin African Writers Series,” which will include not …

Hay Festival Panel Ponders Our Digital Future

In Feature Articles by Tolu Ogunlesi

by Tolu Ogunlesi HAY-ON-WYE, WALES: While many in the publishing industry were in New York last week for BookExpo America, other book lovers gathered on the Welsh border for the annual literary extravaganza known as the Guardian Hay Festival. This year, amid the author presentations featuring figures as diverse as Desmond Tutu and Stephen Fry, a publishing panel entitled “Brave …