Spotlight on Africa

BCBF’s focus on emerging publishing markets is a journey that began some time ago. Returning in 2024 for its third edition is Spotlight on Africa, the programme developed with the support of ITA-the Italian Trade Agency and the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, offering a prominent space to around 30 excellent African publishers from all over the continent at a dedicated exhibition area within BCBF. A matchmaking programme involving African, Italian and international publishers has been scheduled, together with networking opportunities and seminars on key publishing industry issues held by international publishing professionals, organised for the African delegation in order to share international experiences and best practices, chaired by Sarah Odedina (editor-at-large at Pushkin Press and director of Accord Literary, UK).

In addition to the packed line-up of events, and thanks to the collaboration between BCBF, Aké Arts and Book Festival (conceived and curated by British Nigerian writer and publisher Lola Shoneyin with the aim of promoting and developing creativity on the African continent locally and internationally) and Mimaster Illustrazione, an online illustration course for African illustrators is due to be launched. Africa has an extraordinary landscape of creativity, particularly regarding literature for children and young people. However, illustrators and creative talents often struggle to establish an effective and constant dialogue with international publishing. The objective of this course is therefore to equip participants with skills related to creativity and design with a focus on the illustrated book, as well as to focus on the dynamics of access to international publishing markets and to provide the necessary tools to enable illustrators to pitch their work successfully. An integral part of the course programme, and again in collaboration with the Aké Arts and Book Festival, will be a Contest for African illustrators (announced at the Illustrators Café, 9 April, 5.40 pm) that will form the basis for an exhibition of African illustration at BCBF 2025.