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

The Night My Dead Girlfriend Called | Episode 4: Confronting the ‘Devil’ | by Feyisayo Anjorin

tnmdgc-header

The only thing of iron, plastic, or leather-padding matter in the well-lit shrine of Pa Fakunle was the treadmill for […]

Apes and Satellites | by Mame Bougouma Diene | African Sci-fi

untitled-design29

The ChinaCorp mining-satellite shifted across the planetary terminator, separating from its twin in stationary orbit over the Eastern Chinese Republic’s […]

Is the Ake Festival a Bubble? | Okechukwu Ofili Calls for a Reality Check

untitled-design28

The Ake Arts and Book Festival is an amazing event. It assembles some of the best minds in literature and […]

Zadie Smith and Namwali Serpell on Femininity and Writing

zadie-3

Zadie Smith has an uncommon ability to tell stories that capture our hearts. But she’s also shown herself to be […]

My Feminism | Remembering to Scream | By Wana Udobang

untitled-design27

I don’t remember the first time my father hit my mother. But I often remember my brother’s hands muzzling my […]

Greg Ruth Does Something Amazing with Okorafor’s Female Characters

untitled-design-60

Nnedi Okorafor’s novels are universally loved. She builds her fictional worlds and fashions her characters from the most unusual elements. […]