PUBLISHING CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN LITERATURE – CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES

Panel discussion with Margaret Busby (writer, editor, critic, consultant and broadcaster), Becky Nana Ayebia Clarke MBE (Founder, Ayebia Clarke Publishing Ltd), and James Currey (Founder, James Currey – an imprint of Boydell & Brewer). Chaired by Wangui Wa Goro (translator, editor and writer).

The publishing landscape for contemporary African literature in the UK is a far cry from what it was 50 years ago when the African Writers Series was founded. There has been a steady move towards a more inclusive approach by some mainstream publishing houses who have opened their doors to African and other minority writers. There has also been a stable rise of independent, black, indigenous and women’s publishers, which has helped to put African writers on the map. But are we moving to a fairer and more accessible publishing system for both African writers and their readers? This rich panel of experts will discuss what they see as the main challenges and opportunities facing the publishing of African Literature today. They will explore the place of prizes, book fairs, conferences, and festivals; ask what can be done to develop the publishing infrastructure in Africa; look at publishing in a historical context and look to the future of the industry, acknowledging the emergence of print on demand, e-books and e-readers, international partnerships, and other initiatives.