In the first part of our series on outstanding online literary magazines for lovers of African literature, we sampled five platforms doing amazing work on the African literary scene, namely Brittle Paper, Doek! Literary Magazine, Afreada, Lolwe, and Open Country Magazine. But there are still more magazines in the digital space that you should explore if African literature is your cup of tea.
No platform serves African literature better than those curated for Africans by Africans. In this concluding piece, you will find five other literary magazines that are nurturing and promoting African writing online, establishing literature and art in their societies’ consciousness and, in some cases, rewarding the writing that they publish. Here is a selection of these outstanding online literary magazines that you should check out if you love African literature.
Check out 5 more African literary magazines to explore for lovers of African literature…
#1. The Johannesburg Review of Books, or The JRB (johannesburgreveiwofbooks.com)
When Ben Williams and Jennifer Malec founded The Johannesburg Review of Books (or The JRB) in 2017, their intention was to create a literary space for authoritative reviews, from an African perspective, of books from across the world. The magazine was the first of its kind in Africa, lending the continent’s voice and perspective to global discourses on literature, arts, politics, culture, and history.
Through its outstanding work, people from all over the world get a chance to know what Africans think about books published across the globe. In addition to an impressive collection of book reviews, each issue of The Johannesburg Review of Books also publishes new poetry, interviews, photographs, and excerpts from highly anticipated fiction and nonfiction from South Africa, Africa, and beyond. An interesting fact about the JRB is its commitment to paying for what it publishes.
#2. African Writer Magazine (africanwriter.com)
Founded in 2004 by Nigerian writer and filmmaker, Sola Osofisan, African Writer Magazine has become one of the oaks of the African literary scene. It has helped to launch the writing careers of lots of Africans and boasts a vast vault of eclectic literary works by African writers resident around the world. Open to all genres of literature, it publishes poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, folktales, dramatic pieces, essays/creative features, interviews/profiles, and book excerpts/reviews. African Writer Magazine lives up to its name, providing a big online space for African writers to publish their writing, and for lovers of African literature to read pieces of their choosing.
#3. Isele Magazine (iselemagazine.com)
Described by The New York Times as “one of the new magazines and journals shaping Africa’s literary scene,” Isele Magazine has earned huge recognition for its promotion of an ever-growing list of literary voices. Founded in 2020 by the Nigerian writer Ukamaka Olisakwe, this magazine publishes notable fiction, poetry, essays, interviews, book reviews, and book news from Africa and across the world. It also publishes an Art and Photography series, with insightful explications for art lovers. The magazine continues to publish brilliant and defiant literature and art that engage with realities in society, questioning existing norms and broadening conversations about ways of being. Isele Magazine also rewards outstanding writing in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction through the Isele prizes.
#4. The Shallow Tales Review (theshallowtalesreview.com.ng)
The Nigerian writer, critic, and editor, Nzube Nlebedim founded The Shallow Tales Review in 2019 to provide a literary space for brave but marginalized voices. These voices have since boldly taken up his beautifully curated online magazine. The magazine’s solid accomplishments are clearly evident in the urgent essays it publishes, stories written by gifted talents, the out-of-the-norm poetry that strikes you with its utter beauty, arresting photographs, and impressive one-act plays.
Each issue of The Shallow Tales Review manages to assemble a lineup of voices from across the African continent, a testament perhaps to a pan-African vision or scope for the magazine. It holds yearly commemorative literary readings, which assemble African writers and other literary aficionados for a day of readings and conversations on African literature.
#5. Omenana (omenana.com)
If you think that Africans don’t do speculative fiction, you are in for surprises. Omenana, a magazine that celebrates African speculative fiction and poetry, springs such surprises. Taken from an Igbo word for “culture” or “divinity,” Omenana magazine curates high-quality speculative and fantastical fiction, art, and essays that explore the rich African cultural heritage and shake you out of accustomed perceptions of reality.
It was founded in 2014 by Nigerian writers and editors, Fred Chiagozie Nwonwu and Chinelo Onwualu, and continues to broaden the scope and diversity of African literature. If you are looking to read speculative fiction out of Africa or the African diaspora, Omenana might just be the right fit.
See 5 more Outstanding Online Literary Magazines For Lovers Of African Literature
5 Outstanding Online Literary Magazines For Lovers Of African Literature – Part I
Featured image: @iselemagazine/Instagram
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A writer fascinated by humanity and diversity. He is the author of Do Not Say It’s Not Your Country.