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Modjaji Books

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Archive for the ‘Kenya’ Category

Small Publishers’ Catalogue, Africa, 2013

I love it when a plan comes together! The Small Publishers’ Catalogue is happening, we’ve got listings from publishers all over the continent: Algeria, Egypt, Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Namibia, a UK-based publisher of African writing, and of course lots from South African publishers. May still get listings from Togo, Mauritius, Tunisia and Morocco. Possibly Botswana, a few more Nigerian publishers, trying to get as many as possible by the end of February.

Many of the publishers we are listing for the first time have participated in the Frankfurt Book Fair/Litprom Invitation Programme.

African Books Collective, Black Letter Media, Paperight, Bookslive, the Goethe Institute, AllAboutWriting, Judy Croome, Porcupine Press, Deep South, Fundza, Helen Moffett, The Rhodes University Creative Writing MA, Farafina, and the ever generous and supportive friend of small publishers – Mega Digital have all taken out advertising so far. We are thrilled to announce that Mega Digital has agreed to sponsor an initial print run of 500 copies!

We had limited success with the Indiegogo campaign, in that we reached just over a tenth of our target budget. But we would like to offer a huge thanks to those who generously donated, mostly writers, and at least half of whom are poets. I’m sure there is a lesson in there somewhere. The Indiegogo sponsors include: Helen Moffett, Sarah Lotz, Richard Higgs, Arthur Attwell, Leonie Joubert, Yewande Omotoso, AllAboutWriting, Rachel Zadok, Haidee Kruger, Kobus Moolman, Lauri Kubuitsile and Carol-Ann Davids. (The anonymous donors are also poets.)

I’m hoping to put up a website for small and Indie African publishers once we’ve got the updated printed catalogue off the ground. It’ll be a work in progress that we can keep updated.

In the meantime if you or anyone you know works in publishing directly or indirectly. Please spread the word. We’d love to list them or feature them in an advert.

Our online version of the 2010 catalogue has had over 4600 hits.


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The Small Publishers’ Catalogue, Africa, 2013 project featured in Publishing Perspectives

2013 has gotten off to a good start with the feature about The Small Publishers’ Catalogue, Africa, 2013 project in Publishing Perspectives. Only 8 days to go on the Indiegogo Campaign to raise some of the money necessary to pull the project together I’m hoping that the feature in Publishing Perspectives will energise the campaign into meeting our modest target of USD3000.

African Books Collective, Bookslive, Porcupine Press, NELM, Deep South, the Rhodes University MA, Judy Croome, Helen Moffett, Black Letter Media and quite a few others have taken out advertising space in the Catalogue. We are looking to double if not treble the listings. If you want to list or advertise, don’t hesitate to contact me .

And while earlier editions were very much South Africa oriented, the 2013 version is designed to be much more comprehensive. In addition, Higgs adds that, “my dream is to be able to compile a list of African literary magazines and to publish some new articles that will be of interest and value to publishers and to writers and others in the book world in Africa and to those interested in books in Africa.

Read the full article in Publishing Perspectives by clicking here


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Spread the love and the word – Small Publishers Catalogue Africa 2013

We’ve set up a campaign to raise funds to publish an updated and much more comprehensive edition of the Small Publishers’ Catalogue Africa 2013 Funds have started coming in from those who support the campaign. Please check it out, especially if you have ever been published by a small publisher, a literary magazine, an online zine, or been given advice, suggestions, input, feedback or anything else similar.

The Catalogue is a showcase for small and indie publishers, and having them all in a catalogue is an incredibly useful way for librarians, bookstores, bibiophiles, researchers, students of Africana, you name it to have the information in one place.

While working at the Centre for the Book, I was involved in the first Small Publishers’ Catalogue which only featured South African publishers. University librarians from the British Library, Harvard, Yale and Stanford were at the Cape Town Book Fair, and they all eagerly snapped the Catalogue up, as did stores like Clarke’s and local university librarians. We printed 500 copies and now sadly it is out of print.

We’ve started to get people taking listings and adverts. The inside front cover has been booked already. Please spread the word about the Catalogue and the crowd-sourcing funding campaign, thanks in advance!


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Jozi in August

Ten days in Joburg from the 1st – 10th August was a delightful treat. I lived there a long time. It smells and tastes like home, the climate is still and reassuring. It would take too long to write a proper account of all the joys and wonders, but for the Book SA record, these were the highlights:

Meeting Billy Kahora from Kwani? in Nairobi, Martin Njanga from Storymoja Hay Literature Festival and Bibi Bakare-Yusuf from Cassava Republic Press in Abuja, Nigeria. Getting Bibi’s catalogue. I loved their warmth and their “can do” attitudes.

Lunch at Gramadoelas with Louis Greenberg, Kate White, Jassy McKenzie, Dion de Jong, ar, Fiona & Frank Snyckers, Billy Kahora, Phillippa Yaa de Villiers, and Zukiswa Wanner. Wild laughing conversations and confessions amongst virtual friends. Acquiring a signed copy of The Beggar’s Signwriter which I started reading on the flight home. And am savouring.

Seeing poet/publisher friends: Alan Finlay, Robert Berold, Mxolisi Nyezwa, Gary Cummiskey, Vonani Bila, and Allan Kolski Horwitz at the Pan African Indie Publishers meeting hosted by Khanya College at Museum Africa. Buying new editions of Botsotso and Kotaz.

Having Whiplash ordered by David Krut bookstores and then filling the order at the Jozi Book Fair.

Sharing a stand with the beautiful people of Wordsetc.

Meeting Philip Miller, Justice Malala and Fred Khumalo at the Sunday Times Awards. Being at the Awards as the proud publisher of Whiplash. What naches for a first novel published by a new publisher on the block!

Watching the Martin Scorcese doccie on Bob Dylan at my friend, Belinda’s house in Norwood.

Seeing Cape Town friends and colleagues in unfamiliar places, Ben-Editor, Liepollo from Chimurenga, Jane Henshall (British Council) and Robin Malan. Seeing Joburg bookish people in Joburg, instead of at the CTICC or FLF – Arja Salafranca, Tymon Smith, for example.

Remembering the short cut to the airport from Norwood via Orange Grove and Sylvia’s Pass without consulting a map.

Having coffee on the Newtown Square opposite Museum Africa – such a glorious public space. Driving back and forth over the iconic Mandela Bridge, past Wits. Dear old Wits.

The dry, warm, bright days.


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