Parresia is a publishing company headquartered in Lagos. It publishes fiction and creative non-fiction primarily targeted at a Nigerian readership and has a nationwide reach. The company has been one of a few traditional publishing outfits in the past decade. It has caught the attention of book lovers thanks to the titles it’s put out, with some of Nigeria’s best upcoming writers as authors.
As one of an elite group of publishers in the country, Parresia caters to an ever-growing audience. It receives, screens, and accepts manuscripts from some of the country’s most promising literary talents and gives them a place among established figures on shelves within and beyond Nigeria. Its readers range from school-age children to older adults—a diverse and constantly growing population.
Azafi Omoluabi Ogosi and Richard Ali founded Parresia in 2012. They intended it to be a new-generation publisher that would promote creative imagination and a free press through the works that it put out. Since its founding, it has grown in prominence. Today, much of the reading public holds it in at least moderate regard. They consider it a part of Nigeria’s renewed enthusiasm for literature that seems to have begun in the new century’s first decade.
Parresia currently has four imprints, each of which caters to a unique customer segment. One of them is Regium, an imprint set up to publish five fiction books each year. Parresia expects works which make it to this imprint to be exceptionally popular fiction and short stories. Thus far, the books under this imprint have come from award-winning, world-renowned authors. First-time authors who are published with this imprint receive advances on royalties.
Another of Parresia’s imprints is Origami, which churns out works in all genres, including textbooks, anthologies, religious fiction and non-fiction, and plays. This name comes from the word for the Japanese art of folding paper into three-dimensional objects. Origami caters to people who want to self-publish their books and provides them with editing, design, and production services.
The third imprint from Parresia is Omode Meta, which publishes children’s books and Young Adult fiction. It’s named after the Yoruba word for ‘three children’—an appropriate label considering its target audience. Some titles that Omode Meta has yielded include The Magic Gown and Other Stories, I am Not Naughty, and House of Ezyron.
Cordite, a fourth imprint, is jointly owned by Parresia Publishers and HelonHabila, a Nigerian writer and professor of creative writing at George Mason University in the United States. Helon edits this imprint.
Over the years, Parresia has published books from some of Nigeria’s leading authors. They include HelonHabila (mentioned above), who has won the Cain Prize and the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Fiction; Chika Unigwe, winner of the NLNG Prize for 2012; Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, winner of the NLNG Prize 2016; and the late Pius Adesanmi, who was a writer, literary critic, and professor at Carleton University in Canada.
As long as there’s a large market for literature in Nigeria, companies like Parresia Publishers will remain in business. It’s not clear what the future holds for traditional publishers, but digital technology is undoubtedly changing the looks of the publishing landscape. It will be interesting to see how Parresia responds to this and tries to stay relevant in the coming years.Featured Image Source: Brittle Paper
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