Great African Reads discussion

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Anything on Africa > Is this something to make a song and dance about?

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message 1: by Leo (new)

Leo Passaportis (leopassaportis) | 19 comments Have just come across this announcement (ex post facto) about Conakry being awarded the world book capital for 2017: http://www.africanwriterstrust.org/co...
I wonder how much of an impact this has on aspiring authors in the country and what level of exposure it will receive to an international audience?


message 2: by Zanna (new)

Zanna (zannastar) | 191 comments That's interesting, I'd never heard of that accolade? Project? But it looks like it made a difference to Port Harcourt's literary scene so watch this space eh?


message 3: by Mark (new)

Mark Wentling | 36 comments I'm surprised that Conakry, Guinea has been selected for this distinction, particularly as it is a Francophone country with a low literacy rate.


message 4: by Zanna (new)

Zanna (zannastar) | 191 comments Well maybe that is the reason...


message 5: by Leo (new)

Leo Passaportis (leopassaportis) | 19 comments Quite so Zanna. And being a fledgling democracy this is probably a good time to be encouraging literacy and book-reading.


message 6: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
Thank you for sharing that, Leo. It's a year away, but perhaps we could be thinking up ways to celebrate it. I dropped the ball for that when it was Port Harcourt.

I liked the last sentence of the article; really made me smile:
"Laye’s novels are among the earliest major works in Francophone African literature. We also have Djibril Tamsir Niane, who introduced to us The Epic of Sundiata, a story told to him by Djeli Mamoudou Kouyate, a griot in the Mandinka tradition. Other writers from Guinea include Tierno Monénembo, Saïdou Bokoum, Koumanthio Zeinab Diallo, Fodéba Keïta, Siré Komara, and Williams Sassine. Besides great writers, Guinea continues to produce some of the finest soccer players.

I'm curious to read Guinea's proposal now.


message 7: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
Being a Francophone country is neither here nor there since it is a World Book Capital. The list of countries is quite interesting and makes me aspire to create a very personal reading challenge (from wikipedia:

Year City Country
2001 Madrid Spain
2002 Alexandria Egypt
2003 New Delhi India
2004 Antwerp[1] Belgium
2005 Montreal[2] Canada
2006 Turin[3] Italy
2007 Bogotá[4] Colombia
2008 Amsterdam[5] Netherlands
2009 Beirut[6] Lebanon
2010 Ljubljana[7] Slovenia
2011 Buenos Aires[8] Argentina
2012 Yerevan[9] Armenia
2013 Bangkok[10] Thailand
2014 Port Harcourt[11] Nigeria
2015 Incheon[12] South Korea
2016 Wrocław[13] Poland
2017 Conakry[14] Republic of Guinea


message 8: by Mark (new)

Mark Wentling | 36 comments I'm happy to see Guinea made the list but having lived there for four years and visited Conakry several times (last time in 2014)I'm surprised. Perhaps the selection was made on the strength of the numerous authors among the large Guinean diaspora.


message 9: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
Yes, it would be interesting to know more about the selection process. I confess I haven't really paid much attention to this event, which surprised me! I should get with it :)


message 10: by Liralen (new)

Liralen | 180 comments Mod
Oh, interesting. I wonder if the selection is in part based on what's already been done and in part aspirational? And Marieke, I love the idea of creating a reading challenge around those cities...


message 11: by Leo (new)

Leo Passaportis (leopassaportis) | 19 comments Marieke, the paragraph in the Wiki article ( https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/World...) above the list of past host nations sheds some light on the selection process:

The nominating committee welcomes programmes — presented by or endorsed by the mayor of the city making the application — that promote and foster reading. The programmes are to run from one World Book and Copyright Day and the next. The nomination committee will turn its attention to certain criteria:

the degree of participation of all levels (from the municipal to the international level)
the programme's potential impact
the scope and quality of the activities proposed by the candidates, and the extent to which they involve writers, publishers, booksellers and libraries
any other projects promoting books and reading
the extent to which the programme respects the principles of freedom of expression, as stated by the UNESCO Constitution as well as by Articles 19 and 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and by the Agreement on the Importation of Educational, Scientific and Cultural Materials

It just doesn't quite get the same media coverage as, say, a bid for the Olympics or the FIFA World Cup!


message 12: by Marieke, Former guide & Chief Chatterbox (new)

Marieke | 2838 comments Mod
Leo wrote: "Marieke, the paragraph in the Wiki article ( https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/World...) above the list of past host nations sheds some light on the selection process:

The nominating com..."


yes, indeed, i'd like to see how Conakry addressed all of these criteria. and i also wish it would get a similar level of attention as a world sporting event!

Do you know about Canada Reads? i with the US had something like it...it's a week-long battle of the books. the books have celebrity champions who debate their merits and then each night a book is voted off until the champion is crowned. there is quite a build up because they solicit nominations for books from the general public. It's really exciting and fascinating!


message 13: by Leo (new)

Leo Passaportis (leopassaportis) | 19 comments Sounds fascinating. Quite possibly a bit bruising for some author's egos when they get booted off the list though! Certainly a 'novel' way of bringing publications to the attention of the general public.


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