Support Gambian authors is the message at the Kunta Kinteh International Book Festival: ‘We will be very grateful’

African Idols
4 min readSep 10, 2022
Participants at the National Storytelling Competition of The Gambia held at Alliance Française Banjul from 28 May and 28 June 2022, Banjul, The Gambia

International publishers are being urged to buy the publishing rights to works by Gambian authors.

That’s the message to delegates at the Kunta Kinteh International Book Festival from Modou Lamin Age-Almusaf Sowe, Founder & President of the Young Writers Association of The Gambia (YWAG).

Delivering a pre-recorded message as part of preparations for the Gambia Prize for Literature (GPL) on Tuesday, president of the the Young Writers Association of The Gambia, ML Sowe detailed the damage caused to his native publishing industry as a result of the poor readership and insufficient publishing companies.

“ We have a problem of readership. We do not read in the name of God, we read in the name of Satan. It is extremely difficult for the Gambian publishing business today. More than two-thirds of the country’s population don’t read’’, said the award-winning author.

The Young Writers’ Association of The Gambia (YWAG) under the auspices of the Writers’ Association of The Gambia (WAG) in partnership with Alliance Française Banjul (AFB), cordially invites you to the Kunta Kinteh International Book Festival (KKIBF) 2022, scheduled from Friday, 14th October 2022 to Saturday, 15th October 2022. The event is funded by the French Institute of Senegal.

The theme for 2022 is ‘’Reading Gambia Literature’’.


DAY ONE: Official Opening, Educational Conference & Book Fair

DAY TWO: The Gambia Prize for Literature Awards and Hall of Fame for Gambian Literature

The Gambia Prize for Literature (GPL) is not a competition at all — neither is it a way of praising some people over others — but is an annual prize meant to honor literary erudition amongst Gambian authors.

The Gambia doesn’t have any literary prize yet, and we want to respectfully honor people when they are alive and not honor them when they die. The Young Writers Association of The Gambia (YWAG) aims to promote writing and book reading for national development,” he said.

Modou Lamin Age-Almusaf Sowe, who was awarded the African Literature Award in January by the International Association of African Authors and Scholars (IAAAS), based in Atlanta, USA, will not be receiving any prize at the event. He said their aim in creating the book fair and the festival is to support Gambian writers by honoring and empowering them.

“There are many ways one can contribute to national development. Government or individuals cannot do it all. The Gambia deserves to have its literary prize and festival by now. We are very grateful to the Writers Association of The Gambia (WAG) and the Community of Gambianist Scholars (LISTSERV) for their ongoing intellectual support. I may be the picture, but their are many bright colors working with me under the background to give back to our country,’’ said ML Sowe.

Pictorial of the National Storytelling Competition of The Gambia

The Kunta Kinteh Foundation and the Family of Kunta Kinteh, Africell Gambia Limited, Music Union of The Gambia, Female Artistes Association of The Gambia, Gambia Union of Theater, University of The Gambia, Gambia Press Union, Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, National Youth Council, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Ecole Dania Mariam, SBEC, Lycée Senegalais, The Gambia National Library, Gambian authors, and the National Center for Arts and Culture (NCAC) are the key partners for the 2022 Kunta Kinteh International Book Festival.

The festival is an annual literary, artistic, cultural and creative arts event that was founded in 2019 by Gambian writer Modou Lamin Age-Almusaf Sowe, taking place in The Gambia every year. It is the biggest literary award in The Gambia and one of the richest literary awards in the world. It brings together new and established writers from across the Gambia to promote, develop and celebrate creativity on the African continent in various genres.

Unlike the Open Mic Festival and the Janjanbureh Kankurang Festival, the book festival is The Gambia’s biggest annual gathering of literary writers, book lovers, artists, fashion designers, actors, editors, critics, and readers. The event targets the youth, art educators, spoken word artists, writers, publishers, editors, booksellers, critics, book enthusiasts, children, youth-led organizations and youth leaders, community-based organizations, the media, and creatives.

Finalists of the National Storytelling Competition of The Gambia

The festival in October 2022 includes an exhibition of Gambian books, a hall of fame for Gambian literature, autographing of books, keynote addresses, spoken word poetry, dramas, fashion, and musical performances.

The Gambia is home to many talented young people in the fields of arts, education, literature, theater, and poetry. The book festival is a project to further invest in Gambian youth and women and marginalized communities.

The Gambia Prize for Literature (GPL) will be awarded to the Gambia’s best poets, novelists, playwrights, historians, spoken word poets, intellectuals, at the event.

For more information about the book fair, visit:



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