“Global Christian publishing is coming of age…All over the world national writers and publishers are finding their feet,” said British publisher Tony Collins of Lion Hudson plc, after attending LittWorld 2012 in Nairobi, Kenya. Christian publishers, editors and writers from 50 countries participated in MAI’s triennial global publishing conference October 28 to November 2.
This LittWorld conference was the largest to date, with Africans comprising about half of the 194 participants. “This was also likely the best LittWorld, praise God, in terms of the quality of speakers, workshops and participants,” MAI President John Maust said.
Plenary speakers included Chinese publisher Paul Peng, Egyptian author Awsam Wasfy and general secretary Daniel Bourdanné of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES).
While the large-group sessions focused on vision and the “big picture” of global Christian publishing today, the more than 45 small-group workshops taught practical skills in specific areas of publishing, writing, editing, marketing and management.
“The workshops and speakers encouraged me a lot,” said publisher Timothy Makara of Cambodia. I received a ‘vaccination from God’ to keep going in Christian publishing and not give up!”
“Without MAI we would have been happy with average achievement,” said publisher Vandi Uti of Nigeria. “We were seen as one of the most successful and fastest growing publishers in Nigeria, but I learned a lot about the way forward. We have a lot of ways to improve. And I found mentors I can always share problems and successes with.”
This LittWorld featured a special weekend pre-conference for 24 mostly African French-language Christian publishers, who discussed common challenges and made plans to create a network for continuing partnership.
A “Distinguished Trainer” award was presented at the conference to author and publisher Lawrence Darmani of Ghana, MAI’s Africa regional trainer, “for three decades…of training Christian writers in Africa and beyond.”
On the final night of LittWorld, MAI announced plans to form an MAI-Africa Trustees group. This Africa board, the fruit of two LittWorlds held in Africa, will help spearhead publisher and writer training on the continent.
“By God’s grace, we will keep the light of Christian publishing burning in our continent,” said MAI-Africa Trustee and journalist Lekan Otufodunrin of Nigeria.