Lola Shoneyin

April, 2022

Meet Lola Shoneyin!

BlueTree’s project based local consultant based in Nigeria.

Being a writer, a reader, a publisher, a bookstore-owner and a festival director has given me a unique perspective of the book supply chain in Nigeria and West Africa.

Founded in 2012, the Book Buzz Foundation continues to create reading spaces for children while developing reading material through trainings and workshops that are culturally relevant. Our model is to devise the most efficient method of stimulating local book production, especially focused on books that target children in northern Nigeria where there is a glaring absence of reading materials. Yes, textbooks are helpful, but class readers and supplementary educational materials are critical in communities that are overcoming violent conflict and religious extremism.

I work with BTG on planning, collation, and assessment of research material. My understanding, immersion and visibility in the book production value chain means that I connect BTG with relevant individuals and organise important meetings, many of which I attend.

Perhaps some of the most enjoyable aspects of the research are the physical visits. I am always excited to take international guests to Shomolu, a huge publishing community that never sleeps. In this vibrant community in Lagos, various parts of nearly every building in sight are dedicated to different aspects of printing such as lamination, folding, trimming, stitching or binding. It’s exhilarating to see the commitment of those who have lived their lives around these machines. But it’s not just the dedicated hands who work the equipment that fascinate visitors; it’s the ancient machines too.

Walking through Shomolu, it’s impossible to ignore the ancient printing machines, some of which are over 80 years old, most of which belong in a printing museum. Their existence speaks to the resilience of the people in this vast community, but it is also a commentary on the sluggishness in the development of critical infrastructure. Every time I visit, more and more of the machines I have seen technicians oiling and working are disappearing. They are slowly catching up with modern technology. Or perhaps modern technology is catching up with them. Either way, these changes will transform the publishing sector and boost book production to serve the educational and reading needs of nearly two hundred million people.

You can find more about Lola’s work on https://ouidabooks.com/ & https://oneread.africa

We have local consultants in many countries, and our network keeps broadening. Would you like to know more about how we work with project-based local consultants or how we have gained such an extensive network? Please send us a message at info@bluetree-group.com.

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