WritePublishRead, a new initiative conceptualised by Via Afrika, is offered in partnership with the NRF and SARChI Research Chair in the field of Intellectualisation of African Languages, Multilingualism and Education (NRF Chair in African Languages) and the African Language Association of Southern Africa (ALASA).
Only 14% of South Africans read regularly, according to a survey published by the SA Book Development Council last year. A contributing factor to this is that indigenous languages comprise just 1% of the collections in South African libraries.
WritePublishRead (WPR) is an initiative that aims to change this. WPR will be assisting aspiring authors to self-publish their works digitally. Through WPR, these authors will be able to write and promote stories that appeal to the people around them. The new authors will of course then want to encourage people to read their books.
By creating these ‘reading champions’, works of fiction will be available in the home language of every community. By promoting the publication of books in all of South Africa’s languages, the project aims to encourage South Africans to read more. With easy access to affordable books in their home language, it’s hoped a momentum will be created that will inspire more people to read and in turn, more people to write.
This initiative educates authors to self-publish their fiction in a digital format. The service is offered to any budding writer. The process is easy and completely free. The author can set the price they want their readers to pay. Authors retain the copyright to their work.
An unpublished writer in a previously under-published language (isiNdebele, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, SiSwati, Xitsonga Tshivenḓa, isiZulu, isiXhosa, South African First Nations Languages), can apply to participate in the annual Assisted Self-publishing WPR initiative. Here, special assistance will be given by Via Afrika, the NRF Chair in African Languages, and ALASA to 46 writers annually. These authors will be walked through the process of preparing manuscripts for digital publication, from self-publishing the manuscript as an eBook to its promotion. By giving authors the tools to meet the needs of their own communities, WritePublishRead will transform the current publishing landscape and create opportunities for empowerment at an individual level.