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 …

Nigeria’s Farafina Books: Publishing By Africans for Africans

In Feature Articles by Belinda Otas

• Established in 2004, Farafina Books has become one of Nigeria’s leading independent literary publishers. With 24 titles on its list — including the work of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie — the company is leading a revolution in the movement to publish books by Africans for Africans. • Though Farafina continues to struggle against the limitations of publishing in Nigeria, notably poor …

Is the Internet Africa’s “Gutenberg Moment?”

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka Today’s lead story looks at the pivotal role Farafina Books is playing in the changing landscape of Nigerian and African publishing. Last November, as part of African Literature Week in Oslo, Norway, Farafina owner Muhtar Bakare (pictured on the right) gave a speech in which he stated that the Internet represented Africa’s “Gutenberg Moment.” (You can read …

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 …

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 …

Nigerian Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on Straddling Continents

In Feature Articles by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka TORONTO: “In the West we have constructed a narrative where African wars and poverty are meaningless, with no real political or historical context, which suggests misery is this atavistic thing,” says Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. “But what gets forgotten is at the same time all this is happening, people are falling in love, people are still …