Last year in the doldrums of 2020 employment opportunities I received an email that really excited me from Karen Van Drie.
Karen is an American librarian working in Istanbul, Turkey and is as Executive Director of the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative — a collection of publishers, translators, librarians and authors working to get more of the world’s literature into English-language libraries. The Global Literature in Libraries Initiative strives to raise the visibility of world literature for adults and children at the local, national and international levels. You can follow their work three ways:
- On Facebook at the hashtag #GlobalLiteratureinLibrariesInitiative,
- On Twitter at @GlobalLitin, and
- You can subscribe to their blog and receive it directly in your email inbox.
On the blog they allow writers, translators and librarians to guest edit for a month at a time on a theme of their choice. Sometimes, these even include blogging with a specific country focus, like
- A month on Chinese literature, coordinated by the translator group, Paper Republic;
- A month on Turkish literature, coordinated by Karen van Drie;
- A month on Syrian literature, coordinated by Nuri, al-Khalaf;
- A month on Japanese literature, coordinated by David Jacobson; and
- A month on Bulgarian literature, coordinated by Thomas Huebner.
Karen had come across my project of making a list of all the novels written by South African women writers since 1994 and wondered – would I be keen to take on a month guest edit of the blog with a focus on just that? YES PLEASE, I replied, but in much more subtle professional language. In our Skype meeting she advised me that it was quite a bit of work for a volunteer opportunity, but I was EXCITED.
I reached out to writers, translators, podcasters, bloggers and bookstagrammers asking them if they’d like to contribute. Many people I reached out to were too overwhelmed by COVID and their own personal and professional endeavours to commit, but several people agreed to help. I am grateful to all of them!
So now, the month has begun and will run until the end of January. The first few posts are already up! I’ll keep updating the list below as this month goes on, so you can follow along on the blog.
- Day 1: An Introduction to the Month from me.
- Day 2: Makhosazana Xaba writes about her book Our Words, Our Worlds and Black South African Womxn Poets.
- Day 3: Jennifer Malec, editor of the Johannesburg Review of Books, writes about some of the incredible women who have written for them.
- Day 4: Thabiso Mahlape, founder of and publisher at Blackbird Books, writes about her experience of being a publisher.
- Day 5: Dorette Louw of BookDash writes about getting more books to more children across SA and shares some children’s books with powerful female protagonists.
- Day 6: I highlight some of South Africa’s literary awards and the womxn writers who have won them.
- Day 7: Dawn Garisch of the Life Righting Collective reflects on life writing in South Africa
- Day 8: Karin Schimke writes about the opportunities for more translation in South Africa
- Day 9: I share some amazing South African cookbooks
- Day 10: Sally Partridge reflects on the rainbow of talent in SA young adult writing.
- Day 11: Lorraine Sithole shares some of her favourite short story collections
- Day 12: Karina Szczurek of Karavan Press reflects on publishing and shares some incredible short story collections
- Day 13: I share some favourite feminist collections and books
- Day 14: Abdeah Davis shares some SA bookstagrammers to take note of.
- Day 15: I share some SA Queer literature to check out.
- Day 16: Terry-Ann Adams writes about Coloured literature and the chance to be remembered.
- Day 17: I interview Na’eemah Masoet, non-fiction publisher at Kwela.
- Day 18: I shared some South African literary podcasts and book festivals that you might like to check out.
- Day 19: I shared my list of the 245 novels by SA womxn writers from 2015 – 2019. You can find out more about this project, here.
- Day 20: I shared a few of South Africa’s womxn playwrights with links to their interviews and plays.
- Day 21: I interviewed two South African librarians about their libraries and work.
Hope you enjoy!