African Literary NGOs: Power, Politics, and Participation by Doreen Strauhs

By Doreen Strauhs

Presenting the radical thought of the "literary NGO," this examine combines interviews with modern East African writers with an research in their specialist actions and the cultural investment area to make an unique contribution to African literary feedback and cultural stories.

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Sample text

Although LINGOs with a publishing arm thus do share common strands with publishing houses, it would be wrong to consider them solely as publishing houses. LINGOs with a publishing company are hybrid ventures that consist of an NGO that aims at public benefit plus a publishing house that in turn serves to give voice to the NGO’s mission and to generate profit that again goes back into the NGO so as to realize the NGO’s agenda. In contrast to this hybrid construct, commercial publishing houses are generally solely for-profit businesses.

Some of these works already have appeared in transnational publishing houses: Doreen Baingana’s short story collection, Tropical Fish, compiled in 2005, has seen local print runs in the United States, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa. In 2007, Goretti Kyomuhendo reached global attention with her fourth adult novel, Waiting, g released by the Feminist Press in the United States. Having won the Caine Prize in 2007, Monica Arac de Nyeko provoked a controversial debate about homosexuality in Uganda with her short story “Jambula Tree,” previously published in Ama Ata Aidoo’s collection of African Love Storiess (2006).

Okurut’s picture in FEMRITE’s office is a strong nonverbal statement not only of honoring Okurut but also of underlining FEMRITE’s case of wanting to give voice and visibility to women writers and women’s stories in Uganda’s society. Okurut’s picture in the FEMRITE office marks the FEMRITE offices as women’s territory, a space where women rule,70 and to every visitor, this also acknowledges FEMRITE’s feminist mission. Like FEMRITE, Kwani Trust started with a dream. In 2002, Binyavanga Wainaina came back to Kenya after having spent ten years in South Africa.

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