Publishing Reaches New Heights: The Women Leading the Way

The face of publishing has been ushered into the new age. The calls for a wider set of voices, the desire for more stories that reflect readers, and the presence of open doors and platforms to authors who were previously shut out not for literary ability reasons are being answered.



Photo credit: @ouidabooks @jacarandabooks @heartcarnelian respectively.


Meet three publishers who from different vantage points decided to take on this challenge. Whilst all three publishers took different paths, they all stand at a point where publishing of African writing and debut authors can no longer be held back. With highly successful publishing houses, they publish more books than ever, have brought more debut African authors to delighted audiences and they have all expanded the literary community around them.


Lola Shoneyin is the founder of the prestigious and highly successful Ouida Books in Nigeria. Lola is a best selling author on her own right with many books to her name including the unforgettable classic, 'The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives', the poetry anthology 'So All the Time I was Sitting on an Egg' and others works. Lola is the founder of the pan-African festival of books and arts aimed at bringing African perspectives to the world from African themselves, and from a multiplicity of voices.


Valerie Brandes is the founder and CEO of Jacaranda Books in the UK. Jacaranda has published over 70 titles winning multiple publishing awards over the years including Small Press of the Year in 2020 at the British Book Awards.


Jacaranda Books remains one of the leading voices and advocate for Black writers by bringing their work to their readers. In 2020, Jacaranda Books launched #Twentyin2020 an initiative to publish 20 Black British writers during that year.


Samantha Vazhure is the founder and Editor-in-Chief at Carnelian Heart Publishing in the UK. Samantha has published multiple titles bringing previously unheard from talents from across the globe and providing a publishing platform for writers in Zimbabwe. Samantha is a poet and an author with multiple books including 'Uprooted', 'Painting a Mirage', and she has edited and published various works including the critically acclaimed 'Brilliance of Hope' and 'Turqouise - Anthology of Short Stories by Zimbabwean Women.'


Publishing continues to reach new heights and its future looks bright with these dedicated and talented writers, publishers and business leaders at the helm.


By Nataka Books

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