A message from Ankara Press Publisher, Bibi Bakare-Yusuf
Today is a very special day in the life of Cassava Republic, as we launch our long-awaited romance imprint, Ankara Press. We are releasing six brand-new, wonderfully entertaining titles: A Tailor-Made Romance, A Taste of Love, Love’s Persuasion, Finding Love Again, Black Sparkle Romance and Elevator Kiss. We are publishing all six titles initially as e-books. These are easily downloadable to mobile devices, e-readers and computers and they are available to buy now from www.ankarapress.com (in naira, pounds or dollars!).
We chose the name Ankara, because, like the cloth, we believe it reflects Africa’s long conversation with the other continents in order to develop a new aesthetics of tradition. This has now become a feature of African cosmopolitan style and modernity.
We are so proud of our six, talented authors, who have worked incredibly hard to produce such entertaining romances. We have watched them grow and mature as writers alongside our editorial team, as we trod the long path to publication together.
Any work of creativity is an opportunity to bring together different talents, ways of seeing and aesthetics of being. I want to begin with a thank you to Chinelo Onwualu who began this voyage with me; we had endless discussions about romance, gender politics in Africa and what it would mean to break away from the tried and tested romance and do things differently. She sieved through countless manuscripts and started the editorial journey with some of the writers. Anthea Gordon worked patiently and tirelessly with authors to create stories that keep the spirit of romance alive, whilst adhering to our mission to produce stories grounded in healthy and respectful relationships. During the long gestation period for the imprint, we worked with three very talented designers, but in the end the gorgeous covers and branding for Ankara came from 24-year-old illustrator Onyinye Iwu. She expended huge amounts of effort to bring our heroines to life on our distinctive and eye-catching covers. Thank you!
We know that it is not enough to produce good quality books if we don’t think seriously about how to market and get people reading them. Emma Shercliff’s dogged determination, marketing guidance and constant focus on sales has enabled us to launch today, not least by imposing a date on me. There are too many other names to mention, but thank you Jibril Lawal for layout and production, Jeremy Weate for thinking about everything digital, as well as Nafiu Ahmed, Lesley Hay-Whitton and all the people who have been involved in the preparation of these books.
We are already starting to look for the next six Ankara romances, to be published in 2015. We would be delighted to hear from any authors, male or female, who can write sizzling stories with well-developed characters that will challenge romance stereotypes and reflect the lives of modern African men and women. Please see our submission guidelines for more details.
We do hope you will enjoy our Ankara stories and that you’ll be back for more soon!