Experts’ views on the dilemmas of African writers: contributions, challenges and prospects

Sarah Kaddu


African writers have faced the “dilemma syndrome” in the execution of their mission. They have faced not only “bed of roses” but also “the bed of thorns”. On one hand, African writers such as Chinua Achebe have made a fortune from royalties from his African Writers’ Series (AWS) and others such as Wole Soyinka, Ben Okri and Naruddin Farah have depended on prestigious book prizes. On the other hand, some African writers have also, according to Larson (2001), faced various challenges: running bankrupt, political and social persecution, business sabotage, loss of life or escaping catastrophe by “hair breadth”. Nevertheless, the African writers have persisted with either success or agony. Against this backdrop, this paper examines the experts’ views on the contributions of African writers to the extending of national and international frontiers in publishing as well as the attendant handicaps before proposing strategies for overcoming the challenges encountered. The specific objectives are to establish some of the works published by the African writers; determine the contribution of the works published by African writers to in terms of political, economic, and cultural illumination; examine the challenges encountered in the publishing process of the African writers’ works; and, predict trends in the future of the African writers’ series. The study findings illuminate on the contributions to political, social, gender, cultural re-awakening and documentation, poetry and literature, growth of the book trade and publishing industry/employment in addition to major challenges encountered. The study entailed extensive analysis of literature, interviews with experts on African writings from the Uganda Christian University and Makerere University, and African Writers Trust; focus group discussions with publishers, and a few selected African writers, and a review of the selected pioneering publications of African writers.


Experts’ views, African writers, contributions, dilemmas/constraints, prospects of African writers

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