THIS is exciting times for African writing and the continent’s writers, as the once rested iconic African Writers Series (AWS), which pioneered creative writing in Africa and gave the continent’s writers a voice to write back to Europe, has been reluanched. A South African-British writer, Stephen Embleton, will be its Editor, a role the venerable Chinua Achebe, arguably Africa’s father of modern literature, occupied as pioneering editor in his partnership with another British, Mr. James Currey, in founding the African Writers Series in the 1950s. Achebe’s defining novel, ‘Things Fall Apart’, was among the first books AWS published the early years in 1958.
A statement signed by Embleton said, ”It is with great pleasure we make the following announcement in conjunction with Abibiman Publishing and the James Currey Society in Oxford, United Kingdom:Headed by the James Currey Fellow at Oxford University and South African-British writer Stephen Embleton as Editor, a team of writers, editors, publishers and translators is spearheading the relaunch of the iconic African Writers Series.
“Our mandate is clear and threefold: build on the legacy of the original African Writers Series, actively seek works written in African languages, and have the writers of this continent at the helm.” said Stephen Embleton, AWS Editor.
”The original AWS was made up of storytelling that shared new perspectives with the world, new ways of seeing our continent, Africa, voiced by those of this continent. As the original broke barriers during the period of decolonisation, so too will this series continue that legacy: decolonising our stories and giving further voice to new writers in their languages. As African writers and publishers, we are taking up the mantle of this new AWS.”
“James Currey has permitted us and given us his great blessing, to carry on the legacy of the African Writers Series. We feel most privileged,” said Onyeka Nwelue, Co-Founder, Abibiman Publishing. ”The original African Writers Series had success in the reissue of paperback editions of previously published works – some almost lost to time, others given their full unabridged texts – along with biographical non-fiction, and breaking new ground with English translations for a wider audience. Aiming to publish contemporary works of fiction in English while breaking the barriers impeding publication in African languages, the new AWS will reissue, through collaboration with those involved in restoration and translation, culturally significant works – many demanding a broader African appreciation. The AWS is proud to be associated with our non-fiction initiative in the form of the Abibiman Culture Series, as well as a yet-to-be announced speculative fiction series. More will follow on these along with the full objectives of the new African Writers Series.”
The African Writers Series will open for submissions in early 2022.