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Growth of Publishing in Uganda


It is more evident that the African literary scene has expanded massively over the past few years. The notable African Books of the Year list was launched in 2018 to highlight the most impactful books in a given year to show the world how richly and expansively African literary culture is growing, and to introduce readers to new books, particularly books from under-represented parts of the continent. The year 2022 highlighted 100 notable African books with one book from author Okot p’Bitek from Uganda. Are we doing enough as Ugandans to create?

There is no friend as loyal as a book.

Ernest Hemingway

If you have read any African book, you are possibly conversant with the fact that many African storytellers re-live African experiences through their pages, Uganda is no exception. But with the rise of African literature, Uganda doesn’t appear to be at the top even with the various copyright protections. As of this year, Uganda has ratified and acceded to four key copyright treaties – the Berne Convention, the WIPO Copyright Treaty, the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty, and the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances. These four treaties combined provide creatives with the rights needed to protect and benefit from their works. 

Creators have exclusive rights to publish, reproduce, perform, broadcast, and communicate the work to the public. With the expansion and use of the internet, their work can be shared globally with no limitation except the risk of piracy. What opportunities are currently available for Ugandan creatives? 

It is easy to say that with over 100 African books published in the last year, there is room for Ugandan authors and creatives to shine as they seize every opportunity that comes their way. 

How do I publish a book in Uganda?

Publishers who require the issuance of ISBN should contact the National Library of Uganda division at the National Library of Uganda offices at Buganda Road. A new publisher should apply for your own ISBN publisher prefix and plan to identify and circulate your books properly in the industry supply chain.