APBF to Open Five African Poetry Libraries in September

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The African Poetry Book Fund and Prairie Schooner are launching five poetry reading libraries in the Gambia, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda scheduled to open this September. Each library will house contemporary poetry books and journals available to poets and lovers of poetry in these five countries and beyond. Each library contains room for over 1,500 titles, offers resources for those interested in publishing their poems, and will serve as a hub for poets to meet and collaborate while remaining open to all.

“Too many poets working in Africa today have limited access to contemporary poetry,” said APBF Series Editor Kwame Dawes, “partly because of poor distribution by international publishers within Africa and partly because of the cost of books. We felt it would be a great idea to establish small poetry libraries in as many places as possible.”

All five libraries have been established through partnerships with writing organizations, arts organizations, existing libraries, and influential individuals in the arts from each of the five launch countries, and all have received start-up donations of books collected and sent to them by the APBF. Some of the initial mailing—just over four hundred books and journals to each site—consists of poetry collections donated by select literary journals from across the country, with a focus on new authors and contemporary collections from around the world.

Sites for the new poetry libraries include the Gaborone Public Library (pictured above) in Gaborone, Botswana, while the Uganda poetry library in Kampala (pictured below) has been made possible by the Ugandan Arts Trust.

More information about the African Poetry Library Initiative can be found on the APBF Poetry Library website.