Can One Book Fair Serve All of Africa?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka Today’s lead article looks at the upcoming Cape Town Book Fair. Over the years, the CTBF has been viewed by many as a possible replacement for the Zimbabwe Book Fair which was long held to be the main conduit for international publishing to interact with the pan-African book market. Cape Town has done an admirable job in …

Pilgrimages: African Travel Writing, By and For Africans

In Global Trade Talk by Edward Nawotka

By Mark Garcia-Prats In hopes of extending the positive attention about Africa stemming from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, The Chinua Achebe Center for African Writers and Artist is sponsoring a writing project called Pilgrimages. The idea for the series is that during Africa’s first World Cup, 14 African writers will be sent to 13 different African cities …

Africa United: Steve Bloomfield on Politics and the World Cup

In Book Review by Edward Nawotka

By Mark Garcia-Prats Steve Bloomfield is a British journalist who has lived in Nairobi, Kenya since 2006. He was a former African correspondent for The Independent and now writes for different publications including Monocle, Newsweek and The Observer. His first book, Africa United, published in June by Harper Collins, gives a picture of modern Africa by telling the story of …

New Writing from Nairobi: Storymoja’s “Story of the Week”

In Ed's Perspective by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka Storymoja, the Nairobi-based publishing collective that we profiled last year, is running a weekly short story contest. Publishers looking for new African voices might do well by paying attention to some of the winners. Stories that qualify for the contest need to adhere to certain criteria: Contemporary Nairobi setting Has two or more young professionals as main characters …

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 Belinda Otas

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 Belinda Otas

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 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 …