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Authors, publishers meet to promote ‘profession’

Ugandan academic authors and publishers have resolved to start a saving/investment club to support their profession.

Run by dfcu bank, the club will enable authors and publishers to invest in an income generating venture through which any support for authorship would be promoted and or funded.

The club is presently in its formative stages, with the legal framework for developing savings and investments formula, yet to be agreed upon.

The development follows a workshop by authors and publishers themed Promoting Ugandan Talent for a Global Market at Hotel Africana, to find ways of promoting their profession.

Organized by Uganda Textbook-Academic and Non Fiction Authors Association (Utana), the workshop was aimed at supporting intending authors and those already in the business to meet international authorship standards and enable their books make it to the global market.

Celebrated academic and author, Prof John C Ssekamwa, who is a lecturer at Nkumba University, gave a thrilling presentation. He noted that without proper pay, authorship faces extinction in Uganda.

He cited his own ordeal where a Kampala publishing firm paid him peanuts for four books out on sale for two years.

“The royalties which they paid me at the end of January this year 2017, from the four books amount to Shs 260,000,” Ssekamwa said.

The remark prompted some of the publishers present at the workshop to regret about Prof Ssekamwa’s ordeal.

They pledged to work with several authors to bring more academic books to readers under a well-defined mechanism that will benefit all the stakeholders.

Prof Ssekamwa is renowned for authoring, several textbooks including, a sketch Map History of East Africa, used by several generations of history students and The History and Development of Education in Uganda.

Weighing in on the development, Utana Chairman Prof Elisam Magara said the club, which is open to all academic writers, would be a springboard for better writing in schools across the country.

“Students have already told us that they are interested in better readers, so the challenge for authors to meet that request is also being addressed,” Prof Magara said.

Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire, who is also the minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, commended the authors and publishers for the move to end poverty, instead of lamenting about their inadequacies.

Otafiire, who was also the day’s chief guest, warned the audience about what he called an African problem.

“Africans don’t know how to manage success. Instead of working harder when they start enjoying success, they just relax” Otafiire said.


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