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The Poetry Foundation awards $343,000 to the African Poetry Book Fund


INCOLN, Neb. /PRNewswire/ — The Poetry Foundation has awarded a $343,750 grant to the African Poetry Book Fund (APBF) to fund a research study on poetry book distribution in Africa.

Created in 2012 by Kwame DawesGeorge W. Holmes Emeritus Professor of English and Glenna Luschei Editor-in-Chief of Prairie Schooner, APBF operates out of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln through an international complex of additional collaborations and partnerships. First supported by the generosity of Laura and Robert FX Sillerman, the APBF has since received grants from the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Academy of American Poets.

The Poetry Foundation has granted $343,750 to the African Poetry Book Fund to study the distribution of poetry books in Africa.

Kwame Dawes says, “The main purpose of APBF is to find ways to advance African poetry in the world, and one of the essential ways of doing this effectively is to appreciate the complex and multifaceted ways in which poetry and the publication of poetry are taking place. At the heart of the state of poetry in the world is the business of book distribution, and this is especially critical in a continent like Africa, made up of so many different nation states with different trade laws, quite distinct distribution and pricing, and just as many approaches to distributing and selling books, especially when it comes to poetry. If all we could do was to have a more informed understanding of the state of poetry book distribution in Africa, we would have made a significant inroad in the work of promoting poetry on the continent. We expect to do more than that, and are grateful for the insight and sophistication shown by the Poetry Foundation in recognizing the critical need that the grant will address.

The APBF promotes and advances the development and publication of the poetic arts through its series of books, competitions, workshops and seminars and through its collaborations with publishers, festivals, booking agents, colleges, universities, conferences and all other entities that share an interest in African poetry. For ten years, the visionary projects of the APBF include poetry prize, book publishing, digital humanities research, create local poetry librariesand much more.

Since its inception, APBF has been seriously committed to developing a strong publishing program in the United States and, incidentally, to ensuring that the work we publish is accessible to readers across Africa. APBF publications include the New Generation African Poets Chapbook Box Set Seriesproduced in collaboration with Akashic Books, as well as poetry collections and unabridged anthologies under the African Poetry Book Seriespublished in association with University of Nebraska Press.

The African Poetry Book Distribution Project seeks to better understand the state of poetry book distribution on the African continent. Ultimately, this project will help APBF define its role in building and maintaining long-term partnerships with existing African book publishers and distributors and ensuring the availability of its titles internationally.

The three-year grant, which is expected to begin in the summer of 2022, will fund a team of researchers led by Dr. Dawes. Implementing a strong distribution strategy based on existing bookseller networks, international trade and tariff laws, literary venues and programming will expand the availability of APBF titles on the continent, serving authors of APBF and African readers.

The Poetry Foundation is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence of poetry in American culture. It seeks to be a leader in creating a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues of dissemination, and encouraging new types of poetry through innovative literary awards and programs. For more information, visit PoetryFoundation.org.

This is not the first collaboration of the APBF nor of Kwame Dawes with the Poetry Foundation. Beyond the publication of poems in PoetryKwame Dawes was a regular contributor to Harriet, having written more than 120 articles on the Poetry Foundation blog. Additionally, the first New Generation African Poets Chapbooks box set was published by APBF and Slapering Hol Press in association with the Poetry Foundation. Poets in the World Series.