Photos  

Marketing/Author Training Workshop in Mali

May 15-19, 2008

MAI trainer Tony Collins of Lion Hudson plc travelled to Mali in May. The workshops aimed at training French-language Christian publishers, writers and booksellers in West Africa. This was MAI's third such regional training workshop for French-language African publishers.

Read Tony's impressions:

"Mali is a landlocked country in West Africa of 12 million people, of whom 1.6 million are crammed into the seething, messy complexity of the capital, Bamako. The country is one of the poorest in Africa and one of the youngest – I was the only person with white hair at the very full church services I attended! 
 
"It may be poor, but it is also a very cheerful, friendly place. Life is lived on the streets. Every road is lined with small booths selling mangoes, car tyres, ceramic toilets, taps. Roads are filled with crammed buses and taxis interspersed with ubiquitous motorcycles, sometimes carrying two parents and two children. 
 
"It is hot, and dry. Temperatures hit 46°C while I was there. Lizards, geckos and cockroaches abound.
 
"I was there at the invitation of Media Associates International, a body with close links to Lion Hudson and which fosters indigenous Christian publishing and writing, to participate in a week of seminars on writing and bookselling.  The event was very well organised by the Centre de Publications Evangeliques (CPE), Francophone Africa's largest Christian publisher, in a Catholic conference centre just outside Bamako and on the banks of the vast River Niger (Bamako means ‘crocodile water’; Mali means ‘hippo’).

"In addition to providing training, the intention was to establish networks of Christian authors and bookshops across the region. Lion author Lawrence Darmani of Ghana taught the writing course while I presented seven seminars and workshops on marketing for booksellers. 

"The 30 writers and 20 booksellers had come from nine different countries in the region, many travelling two or three days to get there.  They were an impressive bunch, intelligent and motivated, survivors in one of the toughest markets in the world where just to obtain stock can mean a wait of weeks, and political and social instability can mean being burned out of your shop.
 
"As a result of the workshop, CPE will publish a book containing the writers’ articles addressed to Africa’s youth."

CPE hopes that training writers and booksellers will result in new Christian books, and in more books reaching the hands of readers who need them. More locally-published books in French-speaking Africa will help the church mature and disciple believers.

Read "Up from the Ashes in Côte d’Ivoire," the story of one bookseller.


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