Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Prizes, poetry and Paperight: this week in African publishing news

So this week in African publishing news: There's a new prize for new writers. Unfortunately, it's only for published authors and only for authors published by traditional publishing houses but it is a start and a start in the right direction, me thinks:

The Etisalat Prize for Literature is the first ever pan-African prize celebrating first time writers of published fiction books. The Prize aims to serve as a platform for the discovery of new creative talent out of the continent and invariably promote the burgeoning publishing industry in Africa.

By recognizing and celebrating writers and other members of the literary community across Africa, Etisalat plans to bring some much needed awareness and acclaim to the art of Fiction writing while also applauding and rewarding the efforts of those who have ventured into this genre in recent times.

also, AERODROME is launching soon. It's a new South African site that describes itself as celebrating words and people: "the people who write them, the people who edit them, the people who read them". I'm not entirely sure how it plans to differentiate itself from say BooksLIVE (besides with poetry and also by not being a corporate juggernaut) or Litnet (besides from being in English) but I'm intrigued. I'm even more intrigued about how it plans to make money. Last I checked, the margins in local literature are crazy tiny for publishers and booksellers. I have no idea what they are like for... book lovers? book-loving promotors? book-loving and people-loving book promotors? Like I said, no idea. Point is: they are now accepting submissions for poetry which whether it can pay the rent or not is pretty cool for those who still believe in poetry and hope it can find a place in mainstream publishing/book-selling once more.

Poetry Submission Guidelines

Poems can be submitted to poetry[at]aerodrome.co.za as an attachment, either a Word document (.doc or .docx) or in PDF format. Poems should be single spaced and not longer than 30 lines. Please include your name alongside the title of each poem; if you are submitting several poems, please send them in a single document.

We will only accept poems that have not been previously published (with the exception of having been published on your personal website or blog). You will retain the copyright to your work, but by submitting to AERODROME you give us permission to publish your poetry online, in print and elsewhere.

And in more new writing/new opporunities news, The Paperight Young Writers’ Anthology has just come out!

Listen up – South Africa's youth are speaking! The Paperight Young Writers’ Anthology uncovers the next generation of South African writers and artists, compiling work of the highest quality from high school students from every corner of the country. This is what it means to be young, talented and South African in 2013. This is our next generation of artists and writers – in English, Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho and Afrikaans. Featuring a foreword by Niq Mhlongo.

Go buy this book. If you do and maybe some other people also get a few, more competitions/anthologies like this might be launched in semi-marginalised languages like Zulu and Xhosa and actually marginalised languages like Sotho. We need more opportunities like this: We need to find more representative voices and spaces for them to work and learn in literature. Especially when black authors still comprise only 209 of the 2274 royalties earning trade authors in South Africa. Ain't nobody got time for that.

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