Text by Flore Agnes Nda Zo
President of the association ‘La CENE Littéraire’
Creator of the literary prize ‘Les Afriques’
The first book that will appear in the "Kalahari" collection that I now direct at the Cameroonian publisher Ifrikiya will be "Born On a Tuesday" by the Nigerian author Elnathan JOHN. I take this opportunity to thank him for all the help he has given me since the CENE Littéraire announced him as the 2019 laureate doe ‘Les Afriques’ prize. Mr Elnathan John introduced me to his French publisher Métailié and to his Nigerian one as well (that happen to be the main reference in the domain of anglophone African books: Cassava Republic). I was also introduced to his German publisher Wunderhorn. He wrote (in black and white) to these last two telling them to give me all the help I will need for my future projects. The Nigerian publisher complied and sent me the directory of contacts of its authors, media people etc. to help me. Yes, there is a world like that. But that's not the topic.
I have already shared the news previously that we decided to release "Born on a Tuesday" in sub-Saharan francophone Africa at the price of 5000 CFA. This price will be possible only thanks to a "subsidy" of the CENE Littéraire to the publisher Ifrikiya. The normal price would have been between 12'000 CFA and 14'000 CFA for a good book printed in Cameroon (maybe less if it came from Tunisia, India or elsewhere). But we decided to print it in Cameroon. The only print for a size of 14 cm x 21 cm, 270 pages is about 3'100 CFA per unit for a beautiful book. To this must be added the advance to the author (copyrights), the design of the book (background and form, cover etc) and the distribution circuit. I do not even mention a profit for the publisher...
In short, without a grant from the State or a large foundation, the future of books seems very dark in Africa.
If you who know politicians and billionaires talk to them about this or, rather, remind them...
Flore Agnes Nda Zoa