Friday, 28 January 2011

Report now available

African language publishing for children: where next? is now available for downloading from:
The findings are based on:
• an analysis of the materials included in the 2007 PASA Writing in Nine Tongues catalogue and its 2008 and 2009 supplements and the 2008 Catalogue of South African Literature published by the Department of Arts and Culture
• interviews with key players in the book industry, including a wide range of publishers, writers,authors, translators, educationalists, book distributors, booksellers and organizations involved in book promotion
• feedback and discussion at a workshop held at Museum Africa, Johannesburg, as part of National Book Week, September 2010.
This report offers an independent perspective on the state of African language publishing for children in South Africa today based on an analysis of current resources. It synthesises the views of key players in the book value chain on both opportunities for and obstacles to further development.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

National Book Week 2010

We were particularly privileged to be invited to make a presentation as the first event of the very high profile National Book Week, held in Museum Africa in Johannesburg, and opened by the Minister of Arts and Culture. Under the umbrella of the South African Book Development Council, we were able to invite policy makers and representatives from all sectors of the book value chain. The presentation by Viv Edwards & Marriote Ngwaru on African language publishing for children: where next? on 10 September 2010 was attended by over 60 people from all over South Africa.Valuable discussion and feedback from Book Week events will help us to refine our final report and other publications arising from the project.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Language in Africa SIG

Mariote Ngwaru is due to deliver a keynote presentation on the project at the annual meeting of the Language in Africa SIG of the British Association for Applied Linguistics at the University of Bristol, 21–22 May 2010.

Stories Across Africa in Cape Town

The members of the steering committee of Stories Across Africa met to discuss progress in the project since the last meeting at the University of Reading in March 2009. Enthusiasm for the project continues undiminished in spite of serious obstacles. The group were joined by the Chief Executive of New Africa Books which holds the international rights for the Little Hands Books that lie at the heart of the project. The discussion centred on the importance of releasing these rights so that the Stories Across Africa team can continue to promote the books in their regions.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Cape Town International Book Fair

Thanks to all those who have so generously helped us during our fieldwork in Cape Town - the Publishers Association of South Africa and colleagues at PRAESA who facilitated many of the meetings; the publishers, booksellers, book distributors and translators that we interviewed; and colleagues at the Centre for the Book, the South Africa Book Development Council, the Western Cape Education and literacy NGOs who helped complete the picture. Being in Cape Town around the time of the International Book Fair worked very well in allowing us to meet so many key players in a relation to the book industry.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Fieldwork in South Africa

The next major landmark in the project will be the visit of two members of the project team – Viv Edwards and Marriote Ngwaru – to Cape Town to coincide with the Cape Town International Book Fair. With the assistance of the Publishers' Association of South Africa, we are currently arranging meetings with key figures in the area of African language publishing for children who will be able to add their personal perspectives on current challenges and constraints. PASA publicized the work of the project through its email tree earlier in the year and we have already received a number of much appreciated offers of help. Anybody reading the blog with an interest in this field who would be able to spare an hour or so for an informal interview between 11 June and 3 July should contact us: and

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Stories Across Africa in Reading

The core team working on the Stories across Africa project – Michael Amatchew (Ethiopia), Carole Bloch (South Africa), Nadia El Khouly (Egypt), Arabella Koopman (South Africa), Joshua Madumulla (Tanzania), Susan Mukobwajana (Rwanda) – spent a very productive five days at the University of Reading between 23–27 March.

We were joined at various points by publishers, educationalists, book distributors, a librarian and a professional translator who helped to provide a broader context for our discussions of the issues facing African language publishing in general and the Stories across Africa project in particular: Barbara Graham from the Pokomo Mother Tongue Project in Kenya, Mary Jay from the African Books Collective, Elibariki Moshi of Mture Publishers in Tanzania, Akoss Ofori-Mensah of Sub-Saharan Publishers in Ghana, Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa from the Publishing Department of Kwame Nkrumah University in Ghana, Joseph O'Reilly of First Read, Viviana QuiƱones of La joie par les livres in France, Andy Smart, an Education and Publishing Consultant working in the Middle East and Africa, Tom Smith of Book Aid International and Wangui Wa Goro (Kenya and South Africa).

For a video newsclip reporting on the meeting, copy this link to your browser: