Q&A: First issue of the The Single Story Foundation Journal

21753249_1659386047418854_6416383593060390209_oThe rather beautiful, inaugural issue of the online TSSF (The Single Story Foundation) Journal is live.

You can read individual published pieces on their newly designed website: http://journal.singlestory.org.  And, you can read and download the entire journal at:

Wale Owoade, founder and publisher of EXPOUND Magazine said, of the journal’s aesthetic, that “the design is stunning. TSSF Journal guys have done a great job and the cover is mind blowing” – and the team recommend that, if possible, you read the journal in its ready for print form; its blog form – better for viewing on a phone – is also quite lovely (for more details see below, or go to the TSSF Journal’s site).

AiW have been lucky enough to be able to share this brief Q&A with Tiah Beautement, managing editor of TSSF Journal, about this first issue, the team behind it, and its history, the love, and opportunities…


What is the TSSF Journal?
The TSSF Journal is one of the new publications offering opportunities to accommodate the exploding literary culture that is sweeping the African landscape and diaspora. Our contributors included writers from Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Botwswana, Somalia and Cameroon, and some who live in the diaspora.  The writers are Lauri Kubuitsile, Athol Williams, Efe Ogufere, Timi Odueso, Ahmad Holderness, O.J. Nwankwo, Taiye Ojo, Torinmo Salau, Fahima Hersi, Rešoketšwe Manenzhe, Helen Nde, Ané Breytenbach, Muwanwu Sikhitha, Ifeanyichukwu Eze, C.J. Nelson, and Carey Baraka. The journal features poetry, short stories and creative non-fiction. It comes in a blog format, which is easier to read for those that access the Internet on the phone. It is also available in print layout – with turntable pages – that is easy to read on a computer or tablet. This is what the journal would look like if we’d had the funds to print it and is my favorite way to read it. Murewa Olubela, founder of TSSF (The Single Story Foundation), did a stunning job laying it out. The brilliant cover art is by Aisha Jemila and the photograph is titled Aisha’s Acceptance. 

How did the journal begin?
The idea was sparked by Murewa. She asked me to come on board as the Managing Editor after I left Short Story Day Africa in August 2017. I was exhausted from working seven days a week, but still wanted to be a part of the African literary landscape. I found the project intriguing and it nicely fits into my life, leaving time for paid work and my own writing. By the end of 2017, Genna Gardini had come on board to edit the poetry section and Tolu Daniel to edit the non-fiction.

How was the journal edited?
Murewa and I began with over two-hundred entries and cut the poetry and non-fiction down to a long list of around twenty each, giving the editors the final choices. As I was doubling as fiction editor, I picked the pieces for fiction, aiming to show a range of voices and storytelling styles. We had to make some difficult decisions and, in the end, found ourselves rejecting quality work. But better to have too much to choose from, than not enough.

The TSSF team then went on to workshop the selected pieces with the writers. It was imported to all of us to give more than basic editing. We are all writers and know that “paying with exposure” does little for writers. Since we have yet to secure funding for the project (we’re all doing this with love), we gave the writers our time and experience. Everyone worked hard. There were writers without access to computers that were editing via their phones, including short stories – that is impressive dedication. In the end, the one-on-one mini-workshops gave both the editors and the writers an experience of value that will benefit us all in our future literary endeavours.  Writers never stop learning until death knocks on our doors.

Where can we find the journal?
For the blog format (best for reading on a phone): http://journal.singlestory.org/

For the beautiful print layout format (for tablet or computer and is downloadable): http://journal.singlestory.org/issues/

When can writers submit for the second edition? 
The TSSF Journal will be accepting submissions from January 2, 2018. Information will be announced on our website, Facebook page and via Twitter: @TheSingleStoryFDN

For further information about the journal, please contact Tiah Beautement at journal@singlestory.org.

For further information about The Single Story Foundation, please check out their website: http://www.singlestory.org/



Categories: Conversations with - interview, dialogue, Q&A

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