Talking about publishing industry in Nigeria, Cassava Republic has taken giant stride in rewriting publication history and retelling the Nigerian stories and African stories in better light and removing Nigeria publishing industry from the pretty bad shape it was. Growing over a decade now, Cassava publication has become a brand and base of renowned, young and promising writers under Bibi-Bakare Yusuf who set up the company to reset the phase of Nigerian publishing industry. This growth has fetch Cassava Republic international recognition through awards won by the authors, the new pace the company is taking in setting international partnership starting from setting up a London Office and Bookshop.
The US and Britain are centres of the Anglophone publishing world and even though she began Cassava Republic in 2003 in Nigeria’s capital Abuja, she knew right from the start that the new company would one day have to launch internationally. Bakare-Yusuf said she needed time to build up a viable African business. And then go global only after it became a publishing force to be reckoned with.
“[London and New York] give symbolic legitimization to African writing whether we like it or not and we are acutely aware if that. But we are always saying even if they are the centres for legitimization, the means of production must be owned by Africans.”
Author of Farad, Emmanuel Iduma adds to the right steps Cassava is giving writers when he says,
“I sensed that their recent model of distributing outside Nigeria, in the UK and US, would liberate writers like myself from the worry of selling books to publishers who weren’t interested in developing, at least in the immediate, a support structure for African literature
Cassava editors view themselves as discoverers, midwives, curators and archivists for African literature. But they want commercial success too. We cannot overemphasise there success in recent years from Season of Crimson Blossom by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim to Born on a Tuesday by Elnathan John.