Getting to read Africans is getting easier and easier with spaces like Amazon and more publishers than ever getting into the fiction space in the recent past. Whilst it is relatively easy to pick up the book and read the story from the author the author is usually unseen like in other art forms like music and film. Opportunities for people who love the written word to see their prose heros aren’t that many not just in African literature but generally. Apart from a few shows dedicated to featuring writers like KTN did a few months ago and discontinued the prose gods of this day and age have to compete with the rest of the arts for the space to promote their product.
This is why I am loving a YouTube channel that I have just discovered called The Palm Print where you get to meet African writers like Teju Cole, Chinelo Okparanta and Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond. Almost in the flesh. As in you see them as real human beings that talk and cough and rub their noses nervously and everything. They give their opinions about their work and other topics of interest. In one video Teju Cole, is at a book club where people who have read his Open City book get to ask him questions about it. In another Nana Ekua talks about rediscovering Ghana the country she calls home and her book Powder Necklace as well as being in the Africa39 list. In yet another one with Kelechi Okere (a doppelganger for Nganga Mbugua) hosts Chinelo Okparanta on her book Happiness Like Water and the voiceless women. All very cool.
The website of the Palm Print project describes itself as a platform for exploring the rich and myriad cultures of Africa through our story as told in literature, documentaries, photography and other art forms. Starting with literature (can I get an amen?!) they are trying to build a community of writers, both on and offline, working together to share and create the stories that define us as a continent. So I recommend that you go into The Living Room series where invited guests exchange thoughts and views on African literature. You might just see your favourite writer or meet a new one.