Hausa Popular Literature Project
School of Oriental and African Studies

about the project

Documenting Hausa Popular Literature prepared by Graham Furniss

From the earliest period of the production of printed Roman script books in the north of Nigeria, a primary concern was the economics of book production. The conundrum was how to break out of the ‘chicken and egg situation’ whereby it was not possible to ‘create’ a reading public unless there were sufficient, affordable, and readable books that a potential reader would want to read; on the other hand, without an existing commercial market for books, how could any publisher continue to publish? (East 1943) . The main government-funded agency, the Northern Region Literature Agency (NORLA), that undertook the publication of the overwhelming majority of Hausa language books in the 1950s (Skinner 1970) , was forced to close when its losses became unsustainable. The complete file is available as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file: view/download [360 Kb 15 pages]

This paper first appeared in print as Furniss, Graham (2000) ‘Documenting Hausa “market” literature’, in T. A. Barringer (ed.) Africa Bibliography 1998, pp. vii-xxxiii, Edinburgh University Press for the International African Institute My thanks are due to Ibrahim Malumfashi, Brian Larkin, Murray Last, S B Ahmad, Barry Burgess, Malami Buba and the participants in the Social Histories of Reading workshop, Cambridge, July 2000, for their helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper.