Digitalback - reviving African and Caribbean writing

News - Books Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Gersy Ifeanyl Ejimofo aims to offer 'the most comprehensive collection of works by writers of African heritage'

Digitalback Books will host its third event with Brent Libraries next week, highlighting the works of writers of African and Caribbean origin.

Digitalback is the creation of Gersy Ifeanyl Ejimofo, who has featured as a Bookseller Rising Star. She has painstakingly delved into backlists - approaching publishers, distributors and authors - in order to revive titles in digital editions. Her platform now features some 500 titles, available to download by Brent libraries users.

Ejimofo said: "Our partners on all sides see the value in improving accessibility and are overall very keen to join us in making it happen. Where digital rights are available we don't stipulate exclusivity, which goes a long way in accelerating the conversations. There are challenges around acquiring digital rights for much older titles. But our objective remains to curate what we want to become the most comprehensive collection of works by writers of African heritage."

Digitalback has content from more than 30 publishers, including collections such as the Caribbean Modern Classics from Peepal Tree Press, Zed Books' African Argument and Africa Now, and New Internationalists' anthologies for the Caine Prize for African Writing. It also has a partnership with African Book Collective.

Speaking about the library events, Ejimofo said: "We wanted to showcase African literature beyond literary fiction. So a selection of African-Caribbean crime, romance and YA novel writers will give talks and meet readers across Brent."

She added: "My goal for 2018 is to build on the 500 titles we have and further curate that into a list of breadth and depth that does past and current African literature justice." She is also looking to collaborate with more libraries in the UK and Africa.

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