Youth Literature

Children’s Literature in Africa (colloquium, Conakry, November 2017)

Read here the proceedings of the colloquium on “Children’s Literature in Africa” (in French), organised by Ganndal, Conakry, November 2017.

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African youth literature : what visibility on the international market ?

Pays de parution : Italie

From 2009 to 2015, the Alliance developed, on request of publisher members, a modest diffusion and distribution activity in France of youth literature published in Africa (« Lectures d’Afrique(s) ») . This fund addresses a double issue : make literary production published in Africa accessible and visible in the Northern market Northern market and, more modestly, participate in a rebalancing of commercial flow between South and North.
The youth sector, expanding in many regions in the world, is strategic in countries where publishing is emergent – it is indeed through youth literature that tomorrow’s readerships are formed. While catering to their local readership, publishers in Africa also wish to be known internationally. Their participation at book fairs in the North, for instance the Youth Book and Press Fair in Seine-Saint-Denis, reveals the presence of a readership on the Northern markets.

Although African literary output is sold to the general public in the North, is it bought in the context of fairs dedicated to right sells ? What are the necessary prerequisites to participate in these professional fairs ? Would African literature find buyers ?

In partnership with Bologna Children’s Book Fair, the Alliance convened eight African publishers in Bologna from the 23rd to the 27th of March 2013.

Through experience sharing and the intervention of a literary agent specialised in rights transfer (mainly at the service of small youth publishing houses), publishers will also work on the following items :
• Identify relevant catalogues for copyrights transfer ;
• Develop marketing tools to better present one’s production ;
• Negotiate rights and follow-up with business contacts…

Publishers will also reflect on publishing standards in the design and production of books, standards that could facilitate access to international markets while posing a production standardisation risk. How can we reconcile publishing on two levels simultaneously, addressing a local readership and also an international one ?

A session of the workshop will focus on the development of an advocacy document proposing a series of recommendations aimed at book fairs to support the attendance of publishers from the South.

Finally, this meeting will be the occasion for a projects fair, a “mini Bologna” that could lead to translation proposals, rights transfers and co publishing projects. Some of these projects could thereafter be supported by the Alliance.

As an extension to this workshop, meetings with publishers and organisations supporting youth publishing were held during the Fair, providing an opportunity to concretely illustrate the reflection processes carried out over the two previous days, to better discover and understand the workings and mechanisms of a Fair such as Bologna’s. We hope that this support will enable publishers to renew and assure their participation in the long term… and ultimately, that African youth literature will be more visible on international markets.

The Alliance warmly acknowledges the support of Bologna Children’s Book Fair, Fondation de France, Centre national du livre and the Institut français of Madagascar, essential to the implementation of this workshop.

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Publishing in India

Pays de parution : Inde

Unlike other Asian publishing markets, like Korea or Japan, the Indian book market is nearly unknown by French children’s book publishers, though this industry is actually blooming.
The Indian book market is a very specific one : the country’s size makes book distribution difficult, many languages are spoken and written, and there is a wide gap between urban reading habits and rural ones. Independent publishers in this country adapt business strategies to these difficulties and the solutions they find are original and innovative. In view of the lack of studies and data about Indian publishing, this study is based on a certain number of interviews with booksellers, book fair directors, market specialists, illustrators, distributors, and publishers.

  • In the first part ’’Quel paysage pour l’édition indienne ?’’, this study deciphers the socio-economic and statistical data in order to better understand the Indian youth readership (gender, language, economical issues, among others).
  • In the second part ’’Le monde de l’édition jeunesse’’, a typology of the different players in Indian publishing is sketched out : multinational companies, state publishing, commercial publishers, independent publishers, NGOs... what are their respective roles ?
  • In the third part ’’Quelles perspectives de diffusion et de valorisation ?’’, the study examines the level and the nature of exchanges between Indian publishing and worldwide youth publishing.

An exciting treatise on a little-explored subject... a must read !

Mariette ROBBES, holder of a Master 2 in the World of the Book (Aix-en-Provence University) lived for six months in India in 2009, and returns often ever since. Since 2017, she is a member of the Alliance Board. Mariette concurrently works on several textile and graphic creation projects.

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Children’s book trade between France and francophone Africa

In this remarkable document, Marion Van Staeyen highlights the persistent imbalance in the book trade between France and francophone Africa, between North and South, specifically concerning children’s books. Some alternatives are appearing, however, to promote access to northern markets for African publishers. Many stakeholders in the sector – among them the International Alliance of independent publishers – are calling for an active and direct redress of the trade imbalance between North and South. A graduate in sociology and editing, Marion Van Staeyen is a second-year master’s student at University of Paris XIII, majoring in the book trade. She is currently attending classes at Sherbrooke University in Quebec, thanks to a partnership between the two universities.

Documents in French.

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