Creating Postcolonial Literature: African Writers and by Caroline Davis (auth.)

By Caroline Davis (auth.)

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The niceties of the London fiction publishing scene are, happily, lost on most people here. 48 John Bell was not prepared to challenge the Delegates’ standing instruction, and the prohibition on fiction publishing was retained. The Three Crowns series was important to the Ibadan branch. The branch managers in the region on occasion helped with the acquisition of new manuscripts for the series – for example, in the case of Wole Soyinka and Joe de Graft. Other West African authors in the series were Raymond Sarif Easmon, John Pepper Clark, Léopold Sédar Senghor, Obi Egbuna, Davidson (Abioseh) Nicol and Ola Rotimi.

Parnwell begins by describing how he got to work building up relationships with the colonial education officers to convince them to start adopting Oxford University Press textbooks in their schools: I had an interview this morning with S. Rivers-Smith, Director of Education in Tanganyika. He told me that he did a good business with Macmillan in Swahili readers and other books produced in India. There was no objection whatever to the employment of Indian labour on this work, in fact it was essential in order that the books should be cheap.

Despite the fact that they bore little relation to academic and scholarly texts, these elementary language teaching materials were deliberately marketed with the ‘Oxford’ brand name with its connotations of academic elitism and excellence. In The Rules of Art, Bourdieu defines the length of the production cycle as the key determinant of the position of a published text in the cultural field. 40 However, the publishing strategy for the Oxford English Course indicates a different model: the course achieved very high print-runs over a long production cycle.

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