Read African Books

- news and views on African publishing and books -
Cameroonian Book Publishing as ‘Defiant Scholarship’

Cameroonian Book Publishing as ‘Defiant Scholarship’

Stephanie Kitchen presented on ‘Book Publishing and Publishing Collectives in Africa’ at a British Academy Writing Workshop on ‘Defiant Scholarship in Africa’.

Centring Africana Voices in Contemporary Publishing

Centring Africana Voices in Contemporary Publishing

An opinion piece by Jude Fokwang, presented at the Workshop on Defiant Scholarship in Africa, Yaoundé, Cameroon, 18 – 20 June 2024.

Salimah Valiani

Salimah Valiani

Sarah Lubala interviews Salimah Valiani on her new book, IGoli EGoli (Botsotso Publishing).

Report on the Publishing and Book Sector in Morocco, 2022-2023

Report on the Publishing and Book Sector in Morocco, 2022-2023

New report on the publishing and book sector in Morocco, which focuses on literature, the humanities, and social sciences (2022–2023).

David Mann

David Mann

Interview with award-winning editor and arts writer, David Mann, on his new short story collection, Once Removed (Botsotso Publishing).

Books in African Languages Catalogue

Books in African Languages Catalogue

Take a look at the African Books Collective Books in African Languages Catalogue

Wilfred Kanu Jr., Badson Publishing

Wilfred Kanu Jr., Badson Publishing

Wilfred Kanu Jr., CEO of Badson Publishing, talks about the roots of his publishing venture and how he is working with African Books Collective. 

Zaheera Jina Asvat

Zaheera Jina Asvat

Read African Books interviews short story writer, Zaheera Jina Asvat, about her new collection, The Tears of the Weaver (Modjaji Books).

Ashti Juggath

Ashti Juggath

Read African Books interviews South African author Ashti Juggath about her new book, the award winning Peaches and Smeets (Modjaji Books).

Publishing & Book Culture in Africa: A Repository of Selected Resources

Publishing & Book Culture in Africa: A Repository of Selected Resources

In February 2024, Hans Zell published a new third updated and expanded edition of Publishing & Book Culture in Africa: A Repository of Selected Resources. The repository aims to provide quick access to key literature about the many aspects of book culture, and publishing and book development in sub-Saharan Africa. Zell presents the repository here along with some of the needs of African publishing in the future.

Outstanding African Studies Award

Outstanding African Studies Award

ABC was delighted to learn that the Publisher of Mkuki na Nyota Publishers  and founding Chair of the Council of Management of ABC, Walter Bgoya, and Mary Jay, earlier consultant, CEO and director of ABC, have been awarded the Outstanding African Studies Award by the African Studies Association of the UK. We congratulate both on this achievement and note their groundbreaking and longstanding contributions to ABC's collective efforts to publish and disseminate African books, literature and research globally.

ABC's Statement on Gaza

ABC's Statement on Gaza

African Books Collective's Statement on Gaza

Henry Chakava 1946-2024: The Publisher Who Pricked the People into Consciousness

Henry Chakava 1946-2024: The Publisher Who Pricked the People into Consciousness


Hawthornden Foundation and ABC

Hawthornden Foundation and ABC

Press release: Grant fund from the Hawthornden Foundation

Henry Chakava: In memoriam

Henry Chakava: In memoriam

ABC Spring Catalogue 2024

ABC Spring Catalogue 2024

Take a look at the African Books Collective Spring 2024 Catalogue!

Stephanie Kitchen

Stephanie Kitchen

Stephanie Kitchen, African Books Collective Director, speaks to the Independent Publishers Guild podcast about all things ABC.

David Mills

David Mills

Interview with David Mills, University of Oxford academic and now African Books Collective Director!

ABC Children and Teens Books 2023-24

ABC Children and Teens Books 2023-24

Take a look at the African Books Collective Children and Teens 2023-24 Catalogue!

ABC Fall Catalogue 2023

ABC Fall Catalogue 2023

Take a look at the African Books Collective's Fall 2023 Catalogue!

ABC Literature Catalogue 2023

ABC Literature Catalogue 2023

Take a look at the African Books Collective's 2023 Literature Catalogue!

ABC Catalogue 2022–2023

ABC Catalogue 2022–2023

Welcome to the African Books Collective Catalogue 2022-2023! Explore books from 30 independent publishers from across 12 African countries.

Nii Ayikwei Parkes

Nii Ayikwei Parkes

Interview with Nii Ayikwei Parkes, British-Ghanaian writer, editor, publisher, and now African Books Collective Director.

Decolonising Knowledge and its Challenges

Decolonising Knowledge and its Challenges

For Africa, knowledge is a contested site that acquires affirmations, claims, and delineations. İt has to operate through many layers. In fact, is Africa a discourse, or an idea or concept? These are the questions begging to be asked. Ahmet Sait Akcay reflects on the recent ASAA conference.

Transforming African Scholarly Writing

Transforming African Scholarly Writing

African scholarship, like all scholarship, must be conducted rigorously, follow scientific methods, account for context, and stand up to critical appraisal. Why, however, refer specifically to “African scholarly writing?”

Mad Bob Republic

Mad Bob Republic

Tendai Mwanaka is a Zimbabwean writer, editor and publisher who has published 21 books and 23 curated anthologies. Perhaps his best-known anthologies are the Best New African Poets anthologies that have provided a forum for poets across the African continent.

Babingo, the Nobel Rebel

Babingo, the Nobel Rebel

At the last count there were 48,400,000 fictional accounts on the theme of Colonialism globally.

Zeb Silhouette

Zeb Silhouette

It is amazing that in a year when an African novelist, Abdulrasaq Gurhni won the Nobel Prize in Literature for what the Norwegian Academy referred to as "his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents," a phenomenal new book on ‘the cause of women, love and immigration’ would be published.

A good reading culture: Potential game changer in Africa

A good reading culture: Potential game changer in Africa

I made a deal with my eight-year-old son that for every book above 110 pages that he reads, I’ll pay him 15 rands, an equivalent of one United States Dollar (US$1).

Literature Catalogue 2021

Literature Catalogue 2021

Welcome to the African Books Collective Literature Catalogue 2021, a double-issue which features titles published since March 2020. Inside are books from 30 independent publishers across 12 African countries.

The Disillusioned African

The Disillusioned African

Published in 1995, The Disillusioned Africans consists of letters about the observations and experiences of a black student-academic living in London in the 1980s. The novel brings up many issues that determine the present and future of the continent, from the African discourse to the administrations in the postcolonies.

Henry Chakava

Henry Chakava

After graduating from the University of Nairobi in 1972, Henry Chakava was looking at postgraduate scholarship offers from local and international universities. While thinking through his options, his lecturer at the Department of Literature, Professor Andrew Gurr, arranged a temporary job at the Nairobi office of Heinemann Educational Books Limited (HEB). This temporary job instead became a life dedicated to books as he fell in love with publishing.

Vitabu kwa Swahili 2021

Vitabu kwa Swahili 2021

Karibu ABC na karibu upitie katalogi ya Vitabu vya Kiswahili kutoka kwa wachapishaji wa vitabu kutoka Afrika ya Mashariki, na mmoja kutoka Afrika ya Kusini, jambo la kushangaza na kuvutia. Kiswahili kinaenea kote Mashariki na Kusini mwa Afrika.

Marginalisation and Exclusion of Women in Scholarly Publishing and Dissemination in Africa

Marginalisation and Exclusion of Women in Scholarly Publishing and Dissemination in Africa

I came across a discussion on Twitter a while back about how notable women, especially those in academia, were either missing from Wikipedia or had their entries written incorrectly or with insufficient information.

Editora Trinta Zero Nove: literature in translation in Mozambique

Editora Trinta Zero Nove: literature in translation in Mozambique

In Mozambique, women are underrepresented in print and male publishers tend to be biased toward publishing men, claiming that female voices lack quality, substance, and creativity. I try to counteract this by publishing feminist voices that might inspire a new generation of female writers and translators through creative writing and through translation workshops

African Books Collective - Timeline

African Books Collective - Timeline

African Books Collective is 30 years old! It’s been an eventful few decades, and so we felt it was time to share a flavour of how the vision of a few passionate publishers, on the continent and beyond, led to the phenomenon that is African Books Collective. Click through to in-depth articles and photos from some of the Collective’s members. Enjoy – and please do share your thoughts and memories through our social media.

Kyoto University Collaboration with Langaa

Kyoto University Collaboration with Langaa

The African Potentials Series is a co-publication initiative between Langaa and the Center for African Area Studies (CAAS) at Kyoto University. The series showcases the research of the African Potentials network of African and Japanese scholars

What the Secret Agent Saw

What the Secret Agent Saw

The authors of this book paint a detailed and dispassionate yet wrenching picture of the painful and bloody transformation of Rhodesia into Zimbabwe in the period following the white leader Ian Smith’s unilateral declaration of independence from Britain in 1965. Their main gift to historians is the wealth of information they provide, much of it hitherto unknown outside secret service circles, about how Rhodesia’s Special Branch, of which the authors themselves were two of the wiliest spooks, helped to keep the forces of African liberation at bay for so long.

The myth of the ‘book famine’ in African publishing

The myth of the ‘book famine’ in African publishing

Books and publishing in Africa are often described in terms of ‘scarcity’ and ‘famine’, evoking the need for a crisis response. But do these terms reflect the reality of how Africans produce and engage with books? Elizabeth le Roux argues that the famine analogy is perpetuated by a book aid industry that works counter to structural solutions based on local book development.

A (very) brief history of African publishing, from independence to the present

A (very) brief history of African publishing, from independence to the present

It may come as a surprise to some, but Africa has been producing the written word for thousands of years – from the indigenous scripts of Ancient Africa to the experimental digital press projects at the turn of this century. This blog, based on a longer article, attempts to give a very brief history of African publishing from the years following independence from European powers to today, showing that the written word – against many odds – continues to flow onto the latest reading formats.

Co-publishing with Africa North–South–North

Co-publishing with Africa North–South–North

The decolonization of African studies extends beyond content to ethical partnerships between the North and the African continent. One key component of realizing partnership is through publishing. In partnership with the International African Institute, and with the active support of the African Studies Associations of the UK and the US, work is proceeding with publishers in the North and the South to broker co-publishing or co-editions to address this historic marginalization of Africa.

The Colours of our Flag

The Colours of our Flag

This collection of poems by Allan Kolski Horwitz and illustrated by the painter James de Villiers was awarded the 2020 Olive Schreiner Award for poetry.

Botsotso

Botsotso

Botsotso, as a publishing house and platform for performance, was formed in 1996 by members of the Botsotso Jesters poetry performance group. “BOTSOTSO is independent and follows no specific political or aesthetic doctrine. The main criterion for publication of work is that it has integrity and worth as an expression of individual experience and of our society.”

Mdahalo Bridging Divides

Mdahalo Bridging Divides

Alice Wairimū Nderitū at Mdahalo Bridging Divides, Kenya talks with Stephanie Kitchen of the International African Institute, London about scholarly publishing in Kenya, women in publishing and about her path into the industry.  

Tanaka Chidora

Tanaka Chidora

Tanaka Chidora is a Zimbabwean poet, literary critic, and academic who teaches Creative Writing and Theories of Literature at the Department of English at the University of Zimbabwe. His poetry collection Because Sadness is Beautiful? is out now. Tendai Rinos Mwanaka, from Mwanaka Media and Publishing, interviews him on his life and writing.

African published books in the North

African published books in the North

This paper was prepared for the SCOLMA annual conference ‘Decolonising African Studies: questions and dilemmas for libraries, archives and held at the University of Edinburgh on 10 June 2019. The aim of the paper is to provide some insights into how books published in Africa are making their way to libraries with collections on Africa

Getting Published

Getting Published

Alice Wairimū Nderitū is an author, columnist (The EastAfrican) ethnic relations educator and mediator of armed conflict. Alice was named 2012 Woman Peace Maker of the Year by the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, University of San Diego.

University of Namibia Press

University of Namibia Press

UNAM Press publishes works on topics related to Namibia and the Southern African region, reflecting the strengths of the University and the best scholarship in and on Namibia and the region. Published and forthcoming titles include studies of culture and languages; nation building and democracy; education; law; social and political history; autobiographies; the environment and sustainable development.

African publishing in the time of COVID-19

African publishing in the time of COVID-19

COVID-19’s spread around the world continues to have catastrophic effects, from lives lost to the economic consequences of lockdowns, bringing financial devastation to individuals and jeopardising even the most robust industries.

Five Nights Before the Summit

Five Nights Before the Summit

Although typified in some blurbs as crime fiction, Mukuka Chipanta’s second novel is so much more than that: it is also a well-crafted historical novel.

Publishing in Africa: From independence to the present day

Publishing in Africa: From independence to the present day

Indigenous publishing is integral to national identity and development: cultural, social, and economic. Such publishing reflects a people’s history and experience, belief systems, and their concomitant expressions through language, writing, and art.

My Life, My Purpose

My Life, My Purpose

"My Life, My Purpose is the memoirs of Tanzania’s third president, Benjamin Mkapa. President Mkapa takes the reader on a journey from his childhood in rural Mtwara to post-presidential semi-retire­ment. He is not reluctant to offer opinions on a range of topics along the way. "

Drinking from the Cosmic Gourd –Jude Fokwang

Drinking from the Cosmic Gourd –Jude Fokwang

"Drinking from the Cosmic Gourd by Francis B. Nyamnjoh is a deeply infused treatise that aims to exorcise a hegemonic spell, occasioned by the ready-made epistemologies that have enthralled its consumers and reproducers in a dreamy state since the colonial age. "

Une jeune femme sur un bateau ivre

Une jeune femme sur un bateau ivre

Une Jeune Femme sur un Bateau Ivre : Agathe Uwilingiyimana du Rwanda is a poignant portrait by a loved one of a courageous, headstrong human being for whom “the word ‘abandonment’ was not part of her vocabulary”. She would go down with her “drunken boat.”

Mugabeism after Mugabe?

Mugabeism after Mugabe?

"Overall, the book examines various political, economic, social and healthcare issues from interdisciplinary perspectives that pose a challenge to the Second Republic in Zimbabwe. By adopting historical and social perspectives, the various contributors to this monumental work traversed the effects of Mugabe’s legacy on the Second Republic."

Publishing at the African Studies Association of Africa

Publishing at the African Studies Association of Africa

Divine Fuh and Stephanie Kitchen co-convened a plenary and two panels at the African Studies Association of Africa (ASAA) conference held in Nairobi in October 2019 on the topic of ‘Publishing in Africa and African studies: practices, challenges and futures’.

30 Years of providing visibility for African books in the global market place

30 Years of providing visibility for African books in the global market place

African Books Collective is an example of an African owned and governed organisation which has successfully transitioned from a donor dependent NGO to a self-sustaining and independent social enterprise.

Robert Berold, Deep South, South Africa

Robert Berold, Deep South, South Africa

Deep South was started in 1996 by Paul Wessels and Robert Berold [who took over as sole owner/publisher from 2004]. Our aim was to publish what we considered to be innovative and risk-taking South African poetry, regardless of market limitations. Innovation and depth continue to be the main criteria in the decisions to publish.

Abdul Kabir Hussain Solihu, Kwara State University Press, Nigeria

Abdul Kabir Hussain Solihu, Kwara State University Press, Nigeria

Who the Africans are and what they stand for must not be left for outsiders to tell. We want the African authors to tell their own narratives and interpret their own history in a way that would be appreciated by non-Africans. While doing so, they would be able to identify the Africans’ collective intelligence, creative ideas and aspirations.

- Professor Abdul Kabir Hussain Solihu, Kwara State University Press.

Colleen Higgs, Modjaji Books, South Africa

Colleen Higgs, Modjaji Books, South Africa

Modjaji Books was started in 2007 by Colleen Higgs, it is an independent press that publishes the writings of Southern African women. Colleen talks to Stephanie Kitchen about running an independent feminist press in South Africa.

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