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Something quite unprecedented took place in the Nigerian literary scene this week. 

Nigerian writer Toni Kan was made a brand ambassador for the Samsung Galaxy Note 5.

Kan announced it on Facebook two days ago, saying:

It is a fabulous time to be a Nigerian writer. I have just been formally announced as brand endorser for the Samsung Galaxy Note 5. A first for writers in Nigeria and harbinger of good things. “Live your dream. Life is too transient to be taken too seriously.” Thank you Samsung. Thank you dear God for the gift.

Fabulous yes, but also a game changer. For one thing, this kind of attention from a technology heavy weight like Samsung tells us that literary authors are beginning to be recognized for their financial worth.

Toni Kan has been in the Nigerian literary scene for decades now. The Jos University literature graduate is best known for his short story collection, Nights of the Creaking Bed, published by Cassava Republic. He is also affiliated with the popular news site SabiNews and has a day job as a PR consultant. He is currently working on a collection of short stories titled Carnivorous City.

When we reached out to him for comment, here is what he said:

This means that writers are finally getting recognition as bona-fide practitioners in the knowledge economy. Our work and our practice as writers lasts the longest unlike movies or music, musicians or actors. How many 84 years old actors or musicians are still working like Soyinka?

Indeed his partnership with Samsung sends the right message. The possibility of making good money with writing is always a good thing. If writing is financially rewarding, it becomes all the more enticing and fashionable—especially for the young.

The availability of endorsement deals also  diversifies sources of revenue for authors and literary agents. If writers are happy instead of hungry they are more inclined to produce better work, which is good all round for the industry.

Let’s see if this becomes a trend.

Congrats to Mr. Kan!

 

[Read my post on literary authorship and corporate sponsorship here]

Toni Kan with MD and Marketing director of Samsung

Toni Kan with MD and Marketing director of Samsung

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Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

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