Encouraging reading in an academic environment

A colleague recently wrote about a Reading revolution and how to encourage more reading among Ghanaians.  Her ideas are definitely out of the box – at least for Ghana, and all the more appealing because they are different from what usually comes up.

At work, we are about to launch a campus-wide reading campaign – admittedly part of a general communications strategy to improve the quality of student language skills and general literacy – whether spoken or written.  This will be partly through exposure to pieces of writing which are recognized for their quality in terms of content, theme and how English is used.

The first choice is not surprisingly a novel by a Ghanaian author.  Selection was not as straightforward as it might have been, as the pull of older Ghanaian authors such as Ama Ata Aidoo is strong. But in the end the decision was to opt for something a bit more contemporary, which is how we finally chose The clothes of nakedness, by Benjamin Kwakye.   Fortunately for us, local bookseller EPP seems to have the rights to republish quite a few of the African Writers Series, so we were able to easily buy enough copies for all members of our academic community.

Certainly the news seems to have got out.  Students, faculty and staff have all been coming in to the library for their copies.  Will it be read?  We shall see.

It will be an experiment worth watching.

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6 thoughts on “Encouraging reading in an academic environment

  1. Glad you dropped by. The reading project sounds wonderful. We have a lot of work to do to get Ghana reading and reading good books. When is the project starting? Would like to read kwakye’s book in tandem with your project. Wonderful blog you have!

  2. Re ‘Fortunately for us, local bookseller EPP seems to have the rights to republish quite a few of the African Writers Series …’ The ‘seems’ and the ‘quite a few’ are intriguing. What exactly is the situation regarding AWS titles in Ghana?
    Last September, I was interested to see a significant number of ‘Heinemann titles’ on sale in the Legon Bookshop, some in the original covers, some in the bolder style introduced by Heinemann UK during the nineties.
    Had the titles been reprinted or republished? (Or had they been shipped in from in a book depository? )
    If they are being republished, does anyone know whether new contracts have been signed and whether that authors/ literary executors are receiving royalties?
    Finally, I wonder if the local publishing of AWS titles is affected by the on-line versions that have been made available by ProQuest? I understand, ProQuest aims to make texts of AWS titles available (free) on line in Africa. I don’t know whether that service is available, and if so whether it is being used.
    For some information on ProQuest visit
    http://www.proquest.com/assets/literature/products/databases/aws.pdf

    • You ask what the situation is regarding the AWS titles in Ghana? I am not sure about the legal situation. But what I know as a consumer is that EPP has lots of copies of some – not all – of the AWS titles. And looking at one example, Benjamin Kwakye, The clothes of nakedness, which I bought from EPP. Everything about it looks like the AWS series, but the rear cover has “Distributed by EPP Books Services” on the back.

      Re the ProQuest offer: I will check it out. I had not heard about this offer. I hope it is for real!

    • We are about to launch the community wide reading, as well as writing at the end of August. And will definitely keep posting on this topic.

  3. This is great but I also wonder if they would read the book. Most students fancy handling books in their hands and things that are free but hardly would they read.

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