Publishing houses are the unsung heroes of literature. We read books and savor them, but most of the time we do not appreciate the amount of work that goes into producing a finished book. Traditional publishing houses do a lot more than just print books. A lot of laborious work is invested, from rounds of editing and proofreading to typesetting, cover design, numerous bouts of promotional efforts, and so on.
When we grab a book and immerse ourselves in its pages, we are transported into the world of the book, not of the publisher. But the houses make the dreams of writers come true. Fortunately, Nigeria has a number of publishers who are making the dreams of authors come true in spite of the challenges. In celebration of their efforts, we’ve curated this list of seven Nigerian publishing houses at the forefront of Nigerian literature.
Check out 7 Nigerian publishing houses every book lover should know…
#1. Cassava Republic Press
When Bibi Bakare-Yusuf dreamed of “feeding the African imagination” through the agency of books, she founded a publishing house in 2006 named Cassava Republic, a reference to an affordable food crop popular across West Africa. One of Nigeria’s most outstanding publishing houses, Cassava Republic aims to change the way we think about African writing and to bring high-quality but affordable fiction and non-fiction works by African writers to a global audience.
With the aid of digital technology and innovation, Cassava Republic has promoted African writing, launching many writers to international fame. It has offices in Abuja and London, with arrangements for distribution in the US. They won the Independent Publishers Guild’s Alison Morrison Diversity Award in 2018. Award-winning writers published by Cassava Republic include Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Teju Cole, Elnathan John, Helon Habila, Chigozie Obioma, and Yemisi Aribisala.
#2. Parrésia Publishers
Next on the list of Nigerian publishing houses is Parrésia Publishers. It was founded in 2012 by Azafi Omoluabi Ogosi and Richard Ali, whose aim was to introduce books to readers in Nigeria and promote freedom of the press and the imagination. The brand publishes fiction and creative non-fiction books under four imprints: Origami, Omode Meta, Cordite, and Regium.
Parrésia Publishers boasts a list of award-winning writers including Helon Habila, Chika Unigwe, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, and Cheluchi Onyemelukwe. It is based in Lagos.
#3. Ouida Books
Ouida Books was founded in 2016 by the novelist and poet Lola Shoneyin. With an impressive list of authors including Nnedi Okorafor, Helon Habila, Bisi Adjapon, E.C. Osondu, Ayobami Adebayo, and Tomi Adeyemi, this publisher introduces readers to a wide range of high-quality literature. It is a powerful publishing house with many opportunities for promoting authors and their work such as literary festivals and a thriving bookstore. It has the imprints: Cognix, Teyani, and Tanja. Ouida Books is based in Lagos.
#4. Griots Lounge Publishing
In 2011, Bibi Ukonu and Jide Aluka founded a media company, Yagazie Limited, with a publishing house under it called Griots Lounge Publishing, whose drive was to launch unheard Nigerian and African voices that needed to be heard. The publishing house has gone on to publish an eclectic mix of books in Nigeria and Canada, whilst leveraging digital technology and distribution networks across the world.
Griots Lounge books are exquisitely designed with appealing covers; but behind their production is a genuine love for literature in its many forms. The brand is not averse to risk and publishes poetry collections, short story collections, novels, and creative non-fiction books. Its authors include Uchechukwu Umezurike, Echezonachukwu Nduka, Bura-Bari Nwilo, Sylva Nze Ifedigbo, and Romeo Oriogun. It has offices in Owerri, Imo State in Nigeria, and Winnipeg in Canada.
#5. Kachifo Limited
No list of Nigerian publishing houses can be made without Kachifo Limited. Founded in 2004 by Muhtar Bakare, this brand is an independent Nigerian publishing house with a clear vision encapsulated in the motto “telling our own stories.” It is the parent company of Farafina Books, Prestige Books, and the now-defunct Farafina Magazine.
In line with its motto, Kachifo Limited set up a non-profit trust, Farafina Trust, which promotes literature and literary skills across Africa. Farafina Books has published a superb line-up of African literary stars including Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Ben Okri, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Sefi Atta. It is based in Lagos.
#6. Narrative Landscape Press
Narrative Landscape Press came into full prominence when it acquired the books of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in 2018. Adichie’s books published by them came in attractive ankara-themed cover designs that set them apart from others in the market. But the publishing house was founded in 2016 by Anwuli Ojogwu and Eghhosa Imasuen with an aim to create a vibrant publishing industry that takes full ownership of the means of production of books, with expertise in editing and book design. They achieved that with the series of Adichie’s books that they published. Other notable authors published by this house include the Booker Prize-winning Marlon James, Veronique Tadjo, Oyinkan Braithwaite, Lupita Nyong’o, and Chibundu Onuzo. It is based in Lagos.
#7. Masobe Books
One of the youngest Nigerian publishing houses, Masobe Books was founded in 2018 with one clear vision in mind: to be Nigeria’s number one publishing house and a major player in the African literary space. The word masobe means “let us read” in the Isoko Language from the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
With a mix of splendid cover designs and an aggressive promotion using digital technology, this publishing house has stamped its presence on the Nigerian literary landscape. Among its growing list of authors are Leila Aboulela, Chika Unigwe, Karen Jennings, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, TJ Benson, and Chimeka Garricks. It has offices in Lagos.
Featured image: @channelsbookclub/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.