Les Éditions Vives Voix is a publishing company and a non-profit organization founded in 2009 by Ghaël Samb Sall and Vydia Tamby Monteiro. Since then, nine coffee table books have been published by Vives Voix which combines fine art, photography and carefully-crafted texts exploring Senegal’s cultural heritage.

READ: Characterizing Sex in a Novel: Chimamanda vs. Dibia

Praxis speaks to Mamadou Diallo, who is in charge of non-fiction collection at Les Éditions Vives Voix, about publishing in Senegal.

Mamadou blames poor editing on funds…

What I will say here is valid for the Senegalese publishing industry. I think we must agree and take it as a fact that today, most of the books published are lacking quality. Most good Senegalese writers would rather be published elsewhere than in Senegal for many reasons including the quality of the editorial work. Good publishing comes from a qualified workforce that must have been trained, which makes it costly. As long as we don’t have local publishers with a reach to global or, at least, continental markets that would allow for increases in business size, we won’t be able to employ good and trained human resources.

READ: Women in New Nigerian Writing: A Feast of Arrival

We talk about the problem of distribution…

This problem is not specific to the book industry and continental trade in Africa, whatever product we’re considering, is particularly indigent. We’re still too busy selling raw products to the West and the Chinese for their currencies to think of our neighbours as business partners. But if we look at the creative sector alone, we can see that other creative endeavours in Africa, I’m thinking of fashion for instance, are in the same situation. We today have all these great fashion designers on the continent that can’t reach potential customers. I’m seeing all these great pieces of clothes on Pan-African websites, but I can’t buy them unless I’m traveling.

Distribution, just as the output of quality products, has a lot to do with financial strength and investment. If we are talking about literary fiction, I think there is a market wide enough to sustain good publishing, and that the market can grow bigger if we invest more in marketing, communication and specialized media. The market is disseminated on the continent and the diaspora, the question is: is there somewhere on the continent where capitalists are ready to invest in such sector? I’m envisioning a book and cultural products distribution firm that would cover many African countries and if it is able to do so in a profitable way, it will be because big money have been invested in its operations giving it the possibility to be profitable in the long run.

READ: Zaynab Alkali’s Fictional world – Up Close

To solve the distribution problem, Mamadou agrees that creating an online platform catering, specifically, to the needs of African literature can be a solution…

I’m for the emergence of one consistent and Pan-African platform that will be a reference and can contribute in building an African literary agenda.

But what about creating more publishing opportunities to fish out new names in the African literary scene?

I think African publishers today must be more preoccupied by the emergence of new readers than by new names in literature. If we ensure that more Africans are excited about books and ready to pay for them, we’ll have much more publishing opportunities for up and coming writers.

In getting Africans excited about books via digital engagement, Mamadou explains…

I was born in the mid 80’s and I’m both a book nerd and a digital native; to me, screen, paper, those are just mediums and if I’m interested by the content, I’ll read it in whatever available media. Going digital, although not necessarily exclusively digital, for many reasons, is a must for African publishers. We don’t have kindle services in many African countries, which opens a boulevard for investors.

READ: Of Fishermen and Fish-sized Dreams: A Review of Chigozie Obioma’s The Fishermen

Lastly, Mamadou talks about breaking language barriers in writing across African countries…

I’ve been noticing, in my conversations with fellow young African literary enthusiasts, an interest in Lusophone and Anglophone literatures. We are curious about each other and the fact that it is so is a pillar upon which we can build the bridges across language divides. The work that Jalada have been doing: bringing together young writers from all over Africa to translate each other’s work is essential and I hope it can become a regular thing. Chimurenga’s openness to Africa beyond Anglophone countries, if we consider the Pan-African significance of that title and its reach among intellectuals from the continent and the diaspora, is also a good sign. We at Les Editions Vives Voix are working on the Cheikh Hamidou Kane residencies, which will be bilingual and result in both translation and exchanges between Anglophone African writers and the Dakar francophone readership.

READ: On Publishing Business in Africa: Su’eddie Vershima Agema

To write is to make art, and it’s on each artist to see what languages he wants to write in. That said, languages, all of them, are literary gold mines. On a purely artistic level, it makes sense to write in any African language. My favourite novel by my favourite Senegalese novelist is written in Wolof, and because of that, it captures Senegalese life, Senegalese thought, Senegalese humour, better than anything I’ve read before. To read that book was to discover how great Senegalese novel could be. For someone used to writing and reading in French, making the decision to write a whole novel in Wolof and to actually do so is an act of immense intellectual courage.

If we want to make writing in Wolof less of a heroic act, the language must be introduced in the school system. My guess is that we will have much more good and original writing if we do so.

So, yay! New things are coming, yeah? Let’s find out what’s happening in Uganda with Crystal Rutangye. Don’t stop reading 😉

Subscribe To Newsletter
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
Stay Updated
Give it a try, you can unsubscribe anytime.


  1. My family all the time say that I am killing my time here at net, however I know I am getting experience all the time by reading such fastidious articles or reviews.

  2. Neat blog! Is your theme custom made or did you
    download it from somewhere? A design like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog stand out.
    Please let me know where you got your design. Cheers

  3. We are a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community.
    Your web site offered us with useful info to work on.
    You’ve performed a formidable job and our entire
    community will be thankful to you.

  4. Have you ever considered publishing an ebook or guest authoring on other websites?

    I have a blog centered on the same subjects you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information.
    I know my subscribers would enjoy your work. If you are even remotely
    interested, feel free to shoot me an email.

  5. Hmm it looks like your website ate my first comment (it
    was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I
    had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying
    your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still
    new to everything. Do you have any tips for rookie blog writers?
    I’d certainly appreciate it.

  6. I’m amazed, I must say. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s both equally
    educative and engaging, and without a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head.
    The problem is an issue that too few men and women are speaking
    intelligently about. Now i’m very happy I stumbled across this during my search for
    something regarding this.

  7. I’ll immediately take hold of your rss as I can not in finding your e-mail subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter
    service. Do you have any? Please allow me know so that I could subscribe.

  8. Howdy I am so glad I found your blog page, I really found you
    by accident, while I was searching on Google for something else, Anyhow I
    am here now and would just like to say kudos
    for a marvelous post and a all round entertaining blog (I also love the theme/design),
    I don’t have time to look over it all at the minute but I have book-marked it and also added
    in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read
    much more, Please do keep up the great b.

  9. Have you ever thought about adding a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is important and all. Nevertheless just imagine if you added some great photos or video clips to give
    your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with
    pics and video clips, this website could certainly be one of the very best in its niche.
    Great blog! scoliosis surgery https://coub.com/stories/962966-scoliosis-surgery scoliosis surgery

  10. Hello I am so excited I found your website, I really found you by error,
    while I was browsing on Digg for something else, Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say cheers for a
    fantastic post and a all round thrilling blog (I also love
    the theme/design), I don’t have time to browse it all at the minute but I have bookmarked it and also added your RSS feeds,
    so when I have time I will be back to read a lot more,
    Please do keep up the great jo. cheap flights http://1704milesapart.tumblr.com/ cheap flights

  11. Hey there! I realize this is kind of off-topic however I had to ask.
    Does running a well-established website such as yours take a large amount of work?

    I’m brand new to writing a blog however I do write in my diary on a daily basis.

    I’d like to start a blog so I can easily share my personal experience and thoughts online.

    Please let me know if you have any kind of recommendations or tips for brand new
    aspiring bloggers. Thankyou! part time jobs hired in 30 minutes https://parttimejobshiredin30minutes.wildapricot.org/

  12. I am not sure where you’re getting your information, but good topic. I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more. Thanks for magnificent info I was looking for this info for my mission.

  13. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back
    to your website? My blog site is in the very same area of interest
    as yours and my users would definitely benefit from a lot of the information you provide here.

    Please let me know if this alright with you. Regards!

Leave a Reply to bitly.com Cancel reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here