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Pressing On: New Trends in African Publishing (King's/Cambridge-Africa Seminar)

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Pauline Essah.

Wine will be served from 17:15

As the first African Woman Editor of the internationally renowned African Writers Series (AWS) published by Heinemann Educational Books at Oxford, I was privileged to have access to some of the best writers from the continent for 12 years as Submissions Editor. Writers published by the AWS included Nobel laureates and prize-winning authors Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, Ama Ata Aidoo, Buchi Emecheta, Ngugi wa Thiong’o et al. The Series has now become established as the canon of African literature for international studies.

When Heinemann announced the closure of active publishing in the AWS in 2002, I saw an opening for taking African publishing to new heights by presenting bright and innovative voices from Africa and the African Diaspora to international audiences. My training from the AWS stood me in good stead when I started Ayebia in 2003. Ayebia’s mission is to publish books that will open new spaces and bring fresh insights into African publishing by championing and celebrating positive images of Africa through literature. My publishing journey thus far has been a lesson in setting up and running an independent publishing house. Today, Ayebia has not only become firmly established as an award-winning publisher of repute but a publisher collaborating with African educational institutions such as the University of Ghana, Legon to publish books for tertiary education. In 2011 I was awarded an Honorary MBE by The Queen for services to the British publishing industry. Do visit my website:, for more information.

This talk is part of the Cambridge-Africa Programme series.

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