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'Anybody anywhere can join': How African book clubs are bringing together readers from across the world

April 30, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

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In a year of isolation, virtual book clubs in Africa are connecting people across the continent and around the globe.

Looking for a way to feel more connected to home, Lawal discovered an online book club, the Happy Noisemaker, based in Nigeria.

In a year of isolation, reduced physical contact with friends, and working from home in Lagos, Ayeye says she wanted to fulfil her ambition of building a network of book lovers.

Lawal says the book club gives her a chance to wind down and chat with people outside her bubble.

It makes me feel more connected," she says.

She established Inception Book Club (IBC) over four years ago to create a space for women to discuss everything from literature to career prospects.

Ayeye says that Happy Noisemaker tends to attract women either based in Nigeria or members of the Nigerian diaspora.

In 2017, she joined the Port Harcourt Book Club (PHBC) in order to rekindle her ties with Nigeria, joining group meetings on her annual visit to her parents.

"Joining a book club felt like I was still maintaining my roots at home," she says.

"It's helped me overcome isolation because I am able to immerse myself in stories, and still feel like I'm home," she says.

Sebopa and Ayeye say their book clubs have facilitated conversations about loneliness during the pandemic.

"Being part of that community is about more than books -- you sit there and realize that you're not alone," says Sebopa.

by summa-bot

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