Home It's All Write South African Publishers: Kwela

South African Publishers: Kwela

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I promised to profile a few of the publishers in South Africa who occasionally accept work from outside of their borders. This week I’m looking at Kwela.

Kwela is part of the NB Publishing group that has seven major imprints.

NB again is owned by Naspers a large international media company.

Kwela is a small publisher, but has grown a reputation as a quality publisher of both literary fiction and unique nonfiction, primarily autobiographies and travel writing.

Some of their more recent prizes, to only mention a few, include:
1. Shadows by Novuyo Rose Tshuma and Penumbra by Songeziwe Mahlangu long-listed for this year’s Etisalat Prize, winner to be announced in February 2015 (see below)

2. Young Blood by Sifiso Mzobe won the 2011 Sunday Times prize
3. Happiness is a Four Letter Word by Cynthia Jele won 2011 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize

4. The Book of the Dead by Kgebetli Moele shortlisted for the 2010 Sunday Times Prize

According to their website- “Kwela’s main aim is to broaden the scope of Southern African literature, and to document stories that have not yet been told.

About 70% of the work we publish is in English, and the rest is in Afrikaans, but we welcome submissions in both languages.”

They only publish between 12-15 titles each year so they are careful about which books they choose.

They do not publish books for children or the youth.

They also do not publish big coffee table books with photos.

They rarely publish poetry collections or collections of short stories.

Their books are primarily for the general trade market.

Kwela has an imprint called Sapphire Press which publishes romance novellas.

It started in 2010. It may be on hiatus at the moment since their blog for the imprint has not been updated since September 2011.

Kwela prefers hard copy submissions as opposed to emailed submissions.

They also want to see the entire manuscript, not just sample copies.

The manuscript should be printed out on A4 white paper on one side. Use standard formatting with the title in a header on each page and each page numbered.

Included in the package sent to Kwela, you should have a cover letter.

The cover letter should include relevant details about yourself and a bit about the manuscript.

You can send a synopsis of your book, but it is not required since they prefer to evaluate an entire manuscript.

When they can they will send feedback for rejected manuscripts.

The entire package should be sent to Kwela, PO Box 6525, Roggebaai, South Africa.

Do not send the only copy of your manuscript. When they receive the manuscript, they will acknowledge receipt through email if you give them one or through the post.

Your manuscript should be at a minimum of 35,000 words.

Occasionally they accept submissions through email, but it is best to ask first. You can find out more about them by visiting their website (http://www.kwela.com/).
Like all publishers, check out the books that they have already published to see if your manuscript fits in with the type of books they like.

Each publisher is different and has a different take on what they think is a good book.

There is no use in sending a book to a publisher who does not publish books like yours it will only guarantee a rejection.

The Etisalat Prize for Literature has announced its Longlist for 2014

The Etisalat Prize for Literature is a new prize for African novels.

Last year the prize was won by We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo.

The longlist for this year includes:
An Imperfect Blessing by Nadia Davids

Whoever Fears the Sea by Justin Fox
The Thunder that Roars by Imran Garda

Penumbra by Songeziwe Mahlangu
Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

Fresh Air and other stories by Reward Nsirim
Happiness Like Water by Chinelo Okparanta

Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi
Shadows by Novuyo Rosa Tshuma

The winner will be announced on the 22 February 2015.

The sponsor of the prize, Etisalat Nigeria, CEO Matthew Willsher, said, “We the judges are excited about this longlist which is reflective of the great diversity presented by the full list of submissions this year.”

On 8th December 2014, a shortlist of three novels will be chosen from the long list.

Etisalat will purchase a thousand copies of each of the shortlisted books.

This is a significant boost for books published by small, independent publishers from around the continent.

The final winner will win £15,000, an engraved Montblanc Meisterstück pen, and a fellowship at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom.