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The New Magazines and Journals Shaping Africa’s Literary Scene

Exposure has always been a problem for black authors, but the digital world has begun to open up new channels for attracting an audience. With the advancement of online publications, like Lolwe, new voices are being heard and groundbreaking awards are being earned. Lolwe, is an online literary magazine launched by Troy Onyango in 2020 with the aim of publishing Black people in Africa and around the world. Lolwe — which draws its name from the Luo name for Lake Victoria, whose waters hug this city in western Kenya, and means “endless lake or water body” — has published dozens of works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and photography from over 20 countries. Across Africa, literary journals managed by young writers and artists are emerging with the aim of publishing both new and established voices, collaborating across geographies and using the internet and social media to reach their audiences. They are building on predecessors such as Transition, which shaped post-independence Africa, as well as Chimurenga, Kwani, Jalada, Brittle Paper and The Johannesburg Review of Books, which introduced powerful African storytellers to the global stage in the past two decades.