New Nigerian Romance publisher Ankara Press has announced it will be releasing a free Valentine’s Day Story anthology.
Ankara Press, a digital romance imprint of groundbreaking Nigerian publisher, Cassava Republic, was launched in December 2014, and is devoted to publishing ‘a new kind of romance’, with African settings, storylines and characters.
The Valentine’s Day Story project involves seven of African’s finest contemporary writers, four men and three women, who have each written a short love story. Each of the stories has been translated into languages spoken by the writers, which include Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, Egbira, Kiswahili, Kikuyu, Kpelle and French, and audio versions of each story are being recorded.
Contributors include award-winning Nigerian authors Toni Kan and Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, author and publisher Chuma Nwokolo, and Chair of the 2015 Etisalat Prize for Literature, Sarah Ladipo Manyika. They are joined by Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina (named by Time Magazine in 2014 as one of the TIME 100 ‘Most Influential People in the World’), and by upcoming writers Hawa Jande Golakai (Liberia) and Edwige-Renée Dro (Cote d’Ivoire). Translators include Chikodili Emelumadu, Kola Tubosun, Tanzanian publisher and author Elieshi Lema and Hausa novelist Sa’adatu Baba Ahmad. Well-known authors Elnathan John and Mukoma wa Ngugi, and New York Times journalist Helene Cooper, are set to record their audio versions of the stories.
Publisher Bibi Bakare-Yusuf said:
“Our mission is to read and hear what romancing in different languages might sound like and mean, as well as showing how romance can break away from the genre stereotypes and still be entertaining. We wanted to produce a sensuous antidote to election fatigue, that reflects the realities of African lives.”
Project co-ordinator Emma Shercliff said:
“One of the most exciting things about the Valentine’s Day Story project is the way it has been a collaborative effort, bringing together writers, publishers, translators and readers from across Africa, all of whom have shown an incredible amount of goodwill by donating their time and talents for free. We have also received considerable support from other African publishers in helping to publicise our initiative. To me, the generous response we received indicates how strongly the writing and publishing community feels about the issues we are trying to highlight.”
Shercliff added that, from a publishing perspective, the decision to translate the stories into multiple languages was fundamental to the project:
“There is a lot of talk in literary circles about the importance of publishing fiction in African languages, but it is often difficult for publishers to make it work commercially. We felt it was important to use this opportunity, which was not bound by commercial imperatives, to reach a wider, non-English, readership.”
The stories, translations and audio recordings will be published as a pdf anthology on the Ankara Press website.
The Valentine’s Day anthology will be available for free download from 14th February 2015 at www.ankarapress.com.
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