Kwani

If Africans receive and consume media through the Internet using cell-phones, why bother about getting your writing to African readers through print format? Why go through the ordeal of printing books that your audience cannot afford? Kwani?, a Kenyan literary journal, has been thinking along these lines and are working with tech experts to create a literature app specific to their literary market.

To that end, the group has been working with experts from Nairobi’s pool of mobile phone innovators to develop its own literature app, which will run on both smart phones and the “feature phones” ubiquitous around the continent, which offer Internet connectivity but are cheaper and less sophisticated than their smart phone cousins.

Wachuka envisions making 600- to 2,000-word excerpts from Kwani? literary journal available via the app, which she expects to be tested in the next few months and launched in November. The app is expected to be rich in supplementary features as well, she says, including podcasts, videos, and interactive content like chats with writers and text-message poetry contests.

Going digital has meant “a complete revamp of how we produce content,” Wachuka says. “We’re basically creating an entirely new product. It’s an extension of what we do already, but it’s a reshaping of things and spaces.’’

Last year, Kwani for the first time worked with 3Bute (pronounced “tribute”) a site where users can access graphic novel versions of fiction and journalism. But 3Bute is not a read-only experiences. Users can add comments that pop up on the screen, becoming part of the story.

Dan Raymond-Barker, books marketing manager at UK-based New Internationalist, a non-profit publisher, cites 3Bute and Kwani as examples of the innovative, collaborative thinking Africans are bringing to e-publishing.

“It’s not necessarily about the commercial approach – selling books. It’s about people sharing ideas,” he said. “You capture someone’s imagination. You capture their interest. By doing that, you have opened the opportunity to sell them something.” — The Christian Science Monitor

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Archives

Departure | Three Poems by Romeo Oriogun

14808778703_3587b5e3cc_o

i was born with a graveyard. – Safia Elhillo. Departure i do know about the hate that sinks a name […]

What It Means to Feel Adrift | By Arinze Ifeakandu | Memoir

FullSizeRender

1. Your friends are suddenly too far away, your family even farther. You feel a loneliness that gnaws, a disconnection […]

Dinaw Mengestu, Chinelo Okparanta and Yaa Gyasi Listed among Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists

InstaBox_2017428132951654

Granta has released its prestigious once-in-a-decade Best of Young American Novelists list and it includes Ethiopia’s Dinaw Mengestu, Nigeria’s Chinelo […]

Bessie Head’s Letters: the Pain, the Beauty, the Humor

head (1)

“Forgive the vanity, but few people equal my letter-writing ability!!” writes Bessie Head on March 14, 197o to her friend […]

Is Tram 83 Misogynist Poverty Porn? Petina Gappah, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Ainehi Edoro Deepen Conversation as Ikhide Ikheloa and Richard Oduku Publish New Essays

tram 83

Two days ago, we covered an important conversation that had started on Facebook in reaction to Ikhide Ikheloa’s essay in […]

A Letter of Secrets | By Nwanne Agwu | Fiction

11893775_10207320117223894_2273125653442773633_o

On the streets of Lagos, a boy searches for himself in mirrors. — Romeo Oriogun. Saturday, 01 April, 2017 Dear […]