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South Africa, Canada , the USA, the UK and Nigeria are on the travel map today as we start the day global today in what you may or may not consider the USA: Puerto Rico.
If we outside the US and Caribbean think of Puerto Rico at all it is probably in relation to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria in 2017, and Mimi Rankin, in a post for the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative, doesn’t let us forget that tragedy as she discusses the state of play in Puerto Rico’s children’s publishing sector. But let’s stay focussed here on literary matters.
Compared to Mexican or Mexican-American children’s literature, Puerto Rico is less represented thematically, although Puerto Ricans make up the second largest Latinx group in the U.S. behind Mexico. Many of the works I found available were retellings of folktales, whether of the indigenous Taino, Afro-Caribbean, Spaniards, or a combination of the peoples to become wholly “Puerto Rican”.
Rankin goes on,
As Puerto Rico is very much a part of the United States, both English and Spanish are spoken widely across the island. Today, more Puerto Ricans live in the U.S. than on the island, so it was only slightly surprising to find out that much of “Puerto Rican children’s literature” is solely published in English, as it is almost exclusively published stateside. Puerto Rican immigration tales may not get the limelight that other Hispanic immigration stories may get simply due to bureaucracy. A person born in Caguas can just as easily move to Chicago as someone born in Seattle, but just because they share a passport doesn’t mean the cultural assimilation will be the same.
Rankin has lots more to say, along with a list of Puerto Rican children’s books to check out.
Next to Nigeria, where the
Minna is in Nigeria’s Niger state, not to be confused with the neighbouring country of Niger. The Book and Arts Festival’s a small event that would otherwise pass unremarked, even here at TNPS, but I picked out for mention because the event commemorated the life of Abubakar Gimba.
Under a panel named “Remembering Abubakar Gimba”, panellists that included the late writer’s daughter, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar Gimba, discussed critical issues the late author treated in his books such as corruption and promotion of women rights. The uncommon humility and philanthropy of the late author as one of the greatest Nigerian novelists ever to emerge from Northern Nigeria also came under focus as participants recalled his support to people under need and patronage to the arts.
Gimba, the author of 16 books, was also president of the Niger chapter of the Association of Nigerian Authors.
Heading many thousands of miles south next (Africa is a big place), and down in South Africa
That’s the South Africa Literary Awards, of course, now in their 13th year, where some 200 submissions have been whittled down to a shortlist of 23. Click on the link to see the shortlisted titles.
The Awards will be followed by the 6th Africa Century International African Writers Conference.
That’s November 6-7 if you’re lucky enough to be in that part of the world.
Although the awards supposedly encompass all South Africa’s languages, English and Afrikaans dominate, with two translations into English from isiXhosa making up the diversity package.
From South Africa to the UK, where the Women’s Prize for Fiction has caused upset on the publishing circuit. Not because men have objected to this shameless discrimination, but because the Prize organisers themselves have inadvertently discriminated against financially challenged publishers.
Here’s the problem. Any publisher lucky enough to get longlisted – and sixteen titles will get that honour – will have to fork out a fee of £1,000 ($1,300).
It gets worse. Having been longlisted, the publisher of any title that makes the shortlist will have to fork out a further $5,000 ($6,500).
Small presses are understandably unimpressed.
Independent publisher Galley Beggar Press took to Twitter yesterday to share it had just noticed the new rule which could prove “catastrophic for small publishers” in its estimation. “£1000 isn’t small change to us,” said Galley Beggar Press. “Our author won this prize a few years ago when we were even smaller. It would have been near impossible for us to enter with these rules.”
Edinburgh independent Stirling Publishing said: “That’s us out. Perhaps we could have an alternative prize, The Poundland Women’s Prize?”
Prize founder Kate Mosse days publishers struggling with the new fees can talk to them in confidence, but why would publishers wan’t to go through that humiliating process?
Finally to Canada, where
No real surprise there, and I mention it here to make a wider point, that while authors and publishers understandably use Facebook to aid discovery in countries like Canada, the USA and UK, very few make that leap of logic and try to use Facebook to promote books in other countries.
Kenya, for example has 7 million people using Facebook.
Nigeria 17 million.
Algeria 19 million.
Bangladesh 28 million.
Egypt 35 million.
Vietnam 50 million.
Philippines 62 million.
Mexico 78 million.
Indonesia 130 million.
Brazil 139 million.
USA 240 million.
India 251 million.
Not only is the global book market bigger than you think, but promoting your books globally is easier than you think too.