Irish festival investigates Nigeria’s flourishing writing business

Nigerian-German writer Olumide Popoola and literary agent Bibi Bakare-Yusuf spoke at the International Literature Festival Dublin (ILFD) in Ireland in May about the past, present, and future of Nigerian and, more broadly, African writing.

“There’s a renewed energy and excitement, and I want that to continue across the African literary landscape,” says Bakare-Yusuf, Cassava Republic Press’s founder.

The publishing business was created in 2006 and has its headquarters in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja. Since then, it has been at the vanguard of promoting Nigerian writing to Nigerian, African, and international audiences, with offices in the United Kingdom and the United States.

“With the existence of Cassava, we have really shown the world that, in the way that Africans are, we exist in a multitude, and our stories must exist in a multitude as well,” she says. “It must encompass as much variety as possible; from the village to a slum in Kinshasa or Lagos, to the luxury of Cape Town.”

On May 22, Bakare-Yusuf and Nigerian-German writer Olumide Popoola (represented by Cassava Republic) talked at the ILFD event ‘Cities of Literature: Abuja’.

Abuja is attempting to become a UNESCO City of Literature, as part of UNESCO’s larger ‘Creative Cities Network’, which was established in 2004. South Africa is now the only African country having a designated city, with Durban and Buffalo City both recognized for their literary achievements.

“Abuja has really grown in terms of its literary offerings,” adds Bakare-Yusuf. There are numerous book groups, outdoor and indoor theaters, and bookstores. These are the characteristics of a great ‘City of Literature,’ and I would be delighted if Abuja became the first city in Nigeria to receive this designation.”

Popoola, a writer, says she always finds inspiration in Nigerian writing.

“Nigerian literature is very, very rich,” she says. “I’m obviously very inspired by it and the different ways of storytelling to the Western canon. It’s something that I deeply admire.

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Source Africanews

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