Hot Reads, Pirate Copies, and the Unsustainability of the Book in Africa’s Literary Future

Ashleigh Harris


This paper considers how the informal and illegal book trade, both on the street and online, is reshaping the material processes and social practices of the literary in African literary spaces, ultimately suggesting that the book is an unsustainable form for the literary future. While this unsettles various assumptions of the literary establishment, it also provides opportunities for new literary networks – ranging from spoken word events, street and public theatre, illegal street trading, and online communities – to be constituted in ways that are deeply embedded in present day city life.


Street literature, Emergent Form, Digital Literature

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