eKitabu Monthly Newsletter May 2023 Edition
May 29, 2023
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eKitabu Newsletter

Dear Friends,

In April, Mercy Kirui and I attended The London Book Fair (LBF). There we met many publishers large and small and rights professionals from all over the world. We also met friends and colleagues, some from Africa, some who come to Africa, and some who have not yet come. LBF is, among other things—like the book fairs of Frankfurt and Sharjah—a gathering place for the publishing community and a marketplace for rights negotiation. While waiting for a meeting with Archna Sharma of Neem Tree Press at her stand, I imbibed one of Neem Tree’s titles, Clytemnestra’s Bind. I found it electrifying.

Also at LBF, Mercy presented on a panel discussion on “The Journey of African Publishing” led by Brian Wafawarowa, Chief Executive of Juta and Company, and Chairperson of the Publishers Association of South Africa; with Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, founder of Cassava Republic Press, Nigeria and UK; Gbadega Adedapo, CEO, Accessible Publishers, and President of the Nigerian Publishers Association; and Kenya’s own Lawrence Kibaara Njagi, MD of Mountain Top Publishers, and Chairperson of the African Publishers Network (APNET).

Key takeaways from the panel discussion:

“The question is not whether people want to read but how to make books available for people. We need more Africans owning the means of production.” Bibi Bakare-Yusuf

“Technology is a prosthetic!” Bibi Bakare-Yusuf

“It’s important to pose the question, ‘When did publishing in Africa actually begin?’ Certainly not with missionaries. Long before stories were put down onto paper, Africans already had their audiobooks, with their mothers and grandmothers who told and retold stories over time.” Lawrence Kibaara Njagi

“Technology can be used to make content more accessible, to catalogue it, to track how it’s being used, and measure the impact of what’s published. Publishers are using technology to process and package content across an ever-increasing array of platforms.” Mercy Kirui

Finally, thank you all who joined us on 8th April for the Sol Kids Easter festival at the Hub in Karen, Nairobi with our friends Sol Kids Africa, including Kenyan storytellers, authors, artists, and families to make books and reading more accessible and engaging through art, music, conversation, and dance!

Warmest regards,


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