Bakwa, Cameroon’s leading literary and arts magazine, has launched a publishing arm. Bakwa Books, necessitated by “the absence of innovative local publishing channels” in the country and aimed at replicating the magazine’s desire to discover and promote fresh voices in Cameroonian writing, will have as its debut release the anthology Of Passion and Ink: New Voices from Cameroon, a collection of short stories longlisted and commissioned from the Bakwa Magazine Short Story Prize, forthcoming in May 2019.
In an email to Brittle Paper, Bakwa publicity director Roland Ndikwa explained that Bakwa Books is “a nonprofit pop-up bookshop and independent publisher of literary fiction, creative nonfiction, and translation.” Its mission is “to discover, nurture, publish and distribute a new generation of talented writers (mostly Cameroonian), as well as ensure the necessary infrastructures for the growth of writers through workshops, readings, translation-based projects and competitions.”
Writing competitions form an integral part of Bakwa Books’ scouting process. Of Passion and Ink: New Voices from Cameroon (May 2019) is partly a translation-based project, as it includes stories written in English, as well as stories translated from French. This will be followed by a Manuscript Prize in 2020. The combination of competitions, as well as solicited and unsolicited manuscripts, will make sure that we organically get content from a wide range of writers.
Founded in 2011 by Dzekashu MacViban “to fill the lacuna in literary production and consumption, such that Cameroonians could produce high-end literary works and consume such works produced by their peers at home or in the diaspora,” Bakwa Magazine has become essential in the country’s literary landscape, providing a much-needed platform for literary and cultural expression, and for the nurturing of, and networking between, emerging writers.
Writers published early by Bakwa Magazine have gone on to win significant prizes: Abiola Oni won the Guardian and 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize in 2016; Bengono Esola Edouard, winner of the Bakwa Magazine Short Story Prize, won the concours litteraire nationale jeunes auteurs 2017; Socrates Mbamalu was awarded the Saraba nonfiction manuscript prize and longlisted for the Writivism Nonfiction Prize; Munachim Amah won the Writivism Short Story Prize in 2017; Howard Meh-Buh Maximus was shortlisted for the Morland Writing Scholarship in 2018; and Nkiacha Atemnkeng, runner-up for the Bakwa Magazine Short Story Prize, was longlisted for the Short Story Day Africa Prize 2019.
We will bring you more on the anthology Of Passion and Ink: New Voices from Cameroon.
Visit Bakwa Books website.
Brittle Paper congratulates our colleagues at Bakwa Magazine.