The son of the late British-Nigerian author Buchi Emecheta is leading a project to digitise and re-launch all her works.
By February 2018, her most well-known novels: ‘In the Ditch’, ‘The Bride Price’ and ‘The Slave’ will be re-launched with more titles set to follow, Onwordi told MisBeee at the sidelines of literary festival Africa Writes 2017 earlier this month. The plan to digitise and republish Buchi’s entire collection of over 20 books – complete with new book covers – emerged after the Ibusa-born London-based author passed away in January this year.
“..one of the consequences was a realisation that lots of people wanted to read her books but unfortunately some of her books have gone out of print,” said Sylvester. “And so the idea came to me, and the other people I have been collaborating with, that we should get together and form a publishing company to re-launch some of those editions.”
Despite Buchi’s work spanning almost 30 years, some of her books have fallen out of print in the UK. Sylvester has been working to secure the copyright for most of them and is looking to digitise the remaining third. Her collection includes works of fiction, children’s stories, plays, and short stories. She was also a prolific academic writer.
Her semi-autobiographical piece ‘In the Ditch’ started life as columns in the magazine New Statesman and was eventually published as her first novel in 1972. The novel charts the life of a Nigeria-born mum who, like Buchi, single-handedly brought up five children in London after leaving her husband. Buchi’s work touches on multiple themes linked to womanhood, race, identity and displacement.
Sylvester hopes that plans to digitise her collection will widen the appeal of books to new audience.
There are also plans to sell translation rights to countries across the world, including in Brazil and China. A formal launch that pays tribute to Buchi and her work is timed for early February at the Brunei Gallery, SOAS, Sylvester revealed.
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