The African Poetry Library Initiative
The African Poetry Library Initiative is a collaboration establishing small, user friendly poetry reading libraries on the African continent to support aspiring and established poets through access to contemporary poetry in books and journals and to serve as a resource for poets interested in publication in Africa and around the world.
This initiative, guided by APBF and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries brings together US and UK publishers of poetry, literary arts organizations, poets, libraries, and literary journals in collaboration with African libraries, writers co-ops or cultural centers, and poets.
The library collections comprise donations from publishers, presses, foundations, and individuals. Many of the books that don’t come directly from publishers come from the “review copies” stacks of partnering literary journals across the US.
APBF recognizes the following individuals and organizations for their support in the establishment of the libraries:
Ahsahta Press, Anhinga Press, Alicia Ostriker, Aquarius Press/Willow Books, Black Warrior Review, BOA Editions, Chicago University Press, Coffee House Press, Copper Canyon Press, Front Porch Journal, Gulf Coast, Grandma Moses Press, Harvard Review, Hunger Mountain, Indiana Review, Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, Kwame Dawes, Missouri Review, National Poetry Foundation, New Orleans Review, Northwestern University Press, Parnassus, Peepal Tree Press, Ploughshares, the Poets House, Poet Lore, Potomac Review, Prairie Schooner, Truman University Press, University of Nebraska Press, Ugly Ducking Presse, Wave Books, and others.
If you represent a press or publisher who’d like to get involved, please contact us.
Established within existing public libraries in these cities, cultural centers, writers centers or other arts centers that have a proven history of accessibility to all, each library is staffed by volunteers or library staff and supported by volunteers who are poets or who are themselves supporters of poetry in the various countries. The first five reading libraries, founded in 2014, are located in the Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Botswana, and Uganda.