What started out as one reader’s desire to read books about his home country has expanded into a global publishing hub for South Sudanese literary content.
Peter Deng is the founder of Africa World Books, a publishing company that specializes in providing publications to South Sudanese readers in Australia and the broader Australian literary community.
Thanks to this inspiring profile feature by Australian correspondent, Aaron Fernandes of SBS News, Peter Deng’s journey from a young refugee to international publisher is being told.
After the death of both of his parents during the South Sudanese Civil War, Peter Deng spent 10 years living at Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. In 2006, he received a refugee visa to settle in Australia where he completed a degree in international business.
Peter Deng comes from a long line of tribal chiefs. Several years after settling in Australia, he learned of two books that mention his father and grandfather. Both books were out of print.
After contacting the author of one of the books, The Upper Nile Province Handbook by Douglas Johnson, Deng purchased all the remaining copies and secured the rights to republish. He found that the demand for this type of recorded oral history was significant for South Sudanese in the diaspora, and with the guidance of Douglas Johnson, established Africa World Books.
Peter Deng founded Africa World Books on the following three principles:
Promoting African authors – helping to both publish books and retail them, as well as helping them develop their careers.
Educating the community about their heritage.
Educating the Australian community about the culture and history of Africa.
Africa World Books is now a leading international publisher of South Sudanese authors and books in the Dinka language. Books published by Africa World Books is “listed on about 38,000 distribution outlets worldwide.”
In addition to republishing out of print books, the company provides services such as editing, design, marketing, Ebook conversion, and website creation.