The AWT Publishing Fellowship Programme ‘Mentoring and Training Workshop’ began with participant introductions from a diverse group of emerging publishers from Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. The eighteen participants represent an exciting breadth and wealth of writing and publishing experiences in East Africa. As part of these introductions, participants were encouraged to recommend a book to the wider group. And, my goodness – what an inspired list (note below)!
1. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
2. The Book of Longing by Leonard Cohen
3. These Bones Will Rise Again by Panashe Chigumadzi
4. Silence is my Mother Tongue by Suleiman Addonia
5. Behind the Invisible Bars by Eyob Gathun
6. 1984 by George Orwell
7. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
8. Decolonising the Mind by Ngugi wa Thiong`o
9. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
10. The No.1 Ladies` Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
11. The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta
12. Faust by Goethe
13. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
14. Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King
15. Grain Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong`o
16. A Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
17. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
18. God`s Bits of Wood by Ousmane Sembène
19. Blossoms of the Savannah by Henry R. Ole Kulet
20. 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, the lead facilitator, opened the programme with an exploration of the role of an editor. She is the founding Publishing Director of The Indigo Press, based in the UK. The former deputy editor of Granta magazine, Ellah Allfrey was senior editor at Jonathan Cape, Random House and assistant editor at Penguin.
Participants worked in groups to consider the editorial process from the perspective of a Traditional Publisher, Start-up, and Self-publishing. Following this, the group reflected on the Life Cycle of the Book, namely: Submission/Acquisition, Editorial, Copy Editing, Design, Production, Proofreading, Marketing/PR, Sales/Distribution, Publication, and Evaluation. In addition to this, participants had the opportunity to make presentations about their personal journeys and experiences in their self-publishing adventures.
The workshop co-trainer, Demere Kitunga facilitated the closing session of the day with an insightful sum up on things to consider around editorial pitfalls for self-publishers. She is an editor, publisher, mentor, translator and practitioner of transformative literacy through storytelling, based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
There have been lots of opportunity to discuss and learn from each other. What a fantastic first day to this Mentoring and Training Workshop experience!