Arts & Culture

Collecting the Work of African Women Writers with Libreria Ghana

6:30 pm - 8:00 pm | 10 October 2019
The Second Shelf | £10

The Second Shelf is proud to welcome Sylvia Arthur, founder of Libreria Ghana and the forthcoming Museum of African and African Diaspora Literature, for a talk about the challenges and joys of collecting rare books by African women authors.

In 2017, Sylvia left London for Accra, Ghana, where she set up a library using 1,300 of her own books, predominantly by writers of African descent. Retaining a small selection of her collection for herself, she began expanding on what remained, focusing on rare and out-of-print books by African writers.

Her private collection now contains many rare, signed, and first edition works by African and African descended authors. These include a 1958 first edition of The Mischief by Assia Djebar, the first Algerian woman to be published outside her country; a signed, 1963 second impression edition of Noni Jabavu’s The Ochre People, a literary pioneer and the first black South African woman to publish books of autobiography; a signed 1969 first edition of Peggy Appiah’s The Pineapple Child And Other Tales From The Ashanti, the British heiress who made global headlines when she married a Ghanaian lawyer in 1953 and dedicated her life to preserving African folktales; various Buchi Emecheta first editions; and a signed copy of Scottish-Ghanaian artist, Maud Sulter’s rare 1985 debut poetry collection, I Am A Blackwoman

The lack of inclusion of African women from the literary canon has meant that finding these books, considered to be of little literary value, has been a difficult yet rewarding task for Arthur, and her experience and rediscovery of these books and authors is a necessary and vital act.

Join us we discover some hidden and forgotten gems from Sylvia’s collection and hear the lost stories of the women behind them in celebration of Black History Month and with the belief that works by African writers deserve to be valued, preserved, and collected.

A portion of ticket sales will be donated to Black Feminist Bookshop. We are also accepting donations to the Black Feminist Bookshop in store. Please bring along any donations to the shop, monetary or books. 

Tickets cost £10 from here

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