Reading Africa Week is an annual celebration of all things literature, from comic books to non-fiction that’s been happening since 2017. Organized by Catalyst Press, it asks readers, writers, publishers, educators, booksellers and book-lovers of all kinds to use the hashtags #ReadingAfrica or #ReadingAfricaWeek across social media to highlight the full scope of African literature.

For us at Squid Mag, this means highlighting the beauty of work such as Tatashe, Iyanu, Lake of Tears, African webtoons such as My Grandfather is a God and more.

Each year, during the first full week of December (this year, December 4-10), we ask readers, writers, publishers, educators, booksellers, and book-lovers of all kinds to use the hashtags #ReadingAfrica or #ReadingAfricaWeek across social media on posts that spotlight the breadth and beauty of African literature. 

Catalyst started this campaign to bring attention to writers who are doing diverse and genre-spanning work from every corner of the African continent. Because of Catalyst Press’ indie roots, there’s a focus on spotlightign all of the great things people in the indie publishing world are doing to bring their voices to more readers.

Our first year was small; we reached out to just a few presses and asked them to use the hashtag on their social media posts to highlight new books, old favorites, upcoming releases, and gems from their catalogs to show people that, in the words of Cassava Republic founder Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, “African writing is not a genre. It encapsulates different genres.

From that first campaign to now, the campaign has only grown in scope and reach. There’ve been participants from four continents, spanning fields and organizations such as libraries, schools, publishers, booksellers, writers and more. 2021 marked the first year including a companion #ReadingAfrica playlist curated by a member of acclaimed Afro-funk band, Sinkane. Since 2020, a number of virtual panels have also been curated to discuss topics relevant to African literature throughout the week— there’s another amazing line-up of events for you this year. 

The Comic Panel in 2021 moderated by Squid Mag’s Kadi Yao Tay

If you’re a book-lover of any kind, we’d love to have you take part! Participation could look like:

  • using the hashtag on your socials as you spotlight your favorite African authors & stories
  • attending one of our virtual events to discover new authors, genres, & discuss interesting topics
  • participating in one of our daily genre challenges that we’ll be posting on socials all week 
  • curating your own library display or reading list
  • writing an article or blog about why you’re #ReadingAfrica
  • hosting your own event or workshop
  • or something entirely new! 

The possibilities are endless, and we encourage participants to make #ReadingAfrica their own in new and creative ways. We may have started it, but this campaign is for everyone, and we’re thrilled to see it growing far beyond our small (but mighty!) press.

Catalyst Press

How are you planning to celebrate #ReadingAfricaWeek this year?

Follow Catalyst Press on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter to stay up to date on this year’s #ReadingAfrica events in the weeks to come.

Learn more about Catalyst, books, and authors at this website and don’t forget to mark your calendars for December 4-10 to join us for this awesome week-long event!