African Writers Series
African Writers Series is a series of books by African writers that has been published by Heinemann since 1962. The series has been a vehicle for some of the most important African writers, ensuring an international voice to literary masters including Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Steve Biko, Ama Ata Aidoo, Nadine Gordimer, Buchi Emecheta and Okot p'Bitek.History
Founded in 1962, the series provided a forum for many post-independence African writers, and provided texts with which many African universities could begin to redress the colonial bias then prominent in the teaching of literature. The books were designed for classroom use, issuing works solely in paperback to make them affordable for African students. They were published by Heinemann Educational Books (HEB) in London and various African cities.
The idea of the series came from Heinemann executive Alan Hill. The first advisory editor to the series was the Nigerian Chinua Achebe – who became one of Africa's most famous writers. Achebe focused first on West African writers, but soon the series branched out, publishing the works of Ngugi wa Thiong'o in East Africa, and Nadine Gordimer in South Africa. Achebe left the editorship in 1972. James Currey, the editorial director at Heinemann Educational Books in charge of the African Writers Series from 1967 to 1984, has provided a book-length treatment of the series.
After a fairly prosperous beginning, the series faced difficulties mirroring those which faced the continent as a whole. By the mid-1980s, only one or two new titles a year were being published, and much of the back catalogue had fallen out of print. By the early 1990s, however, the series had begun to revive, having recently branched out to publish new work, to republish texts originally published in local release, and to publish translated works.
Heinemann is a publishing house that was founded in 1890 in the UK. Heinemann has published the works of authors including W. Somerset Maugham, J. B. Priestly and Chinua Achebe The company has also published numerous English translations and significant non-fiction work such as the Loeb Classical Library. After being taken over by Doubleday in 1920, the imprints have had a
number of corporate owners. Today, the UK education imprint is owned by Pearsons, the UK trade publications are owned by Random House and the US education imprint is owned by Houghton Mifflin.
William Heinemann began working in the publishing industry under Nicolas Trubner, who was a major publisher of what was called Oriental scholarship. When, two years after Trubner's death, his company was taken over by the firm of Kegan Paul, Heinemann left and founded as William Heinemann, Ltd. in Covent Garden, London in 1890. The first title published was Hall Caine's The Bondsman, which was a "stunning success" selling over 450,000 copies. The company also released a number of works translated into English under the branding of "Heinemann's International Library", edited by Edmund Gosse. In 1893, Sydney Pawling became a partner. They became known for publishing the works of Sarah Grand. The company published the British version of Scribners' Great Education Series under the title Heinemann's Great Education Series, but did not include credits for the original American editor, Nicholas Murray Butler, an omission for which they were criticized. Between 1895 and 97, Heinemann was the publisher of William Ernest Henley's periodical New Review. In the late 1890s, Heinemann and the American publisher Frank Doubleday financially supported Joseph Conrad during his initial attempt at writing what eventually became The Rescue, and Heinemann was the British publisher for Conrad's The Nigger of the 'Narcissus' in 1897. One of the company's businesses at that time was to sell English books to a Japan that was beginning to be interested in items of Western culture. Heinemann sold to the Japanese bookstore Maruzen translations of the works of Dostoyevsky and 5000 copies of Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution by Peter Kropotkin. In 1912, the company began publishing the Loeb Classical Library series, publications of ancient works with the Greek or Latin text on the left hand page, and a literal translation on the right hand page. The series has been called "the most significant" of the parallel-text translations. Since 1934, it has been co-published with Harvard University.