In November 2008, while students of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Emmanuel Iduma and Dami Ajayi began to have conversations about emerging writing in Nigeria, and Africa. By February 2009, they published the first issue of Saraba Magazine, guest edited by poet Jumoke Verissimo, and including the work of now-acclaimed Nigerian writers Uche Peter Umez, Elnathan John, and many more. Subsequent editions would include the work of Tolu Ogunlesi, Chika Unigwe, Keguro Macharia, Sokari Ekine, Dominique Malaquais, Ayobami Adebayo, Victor Ehikhamenor, Eghosa Imasuen, Jumoke Verissimo, Clifton Gachagua, Ukamaka Olisakwe, Okwiri Oduor, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, and Tade Ipadeola.
From the beginning, Saraba has emphasized the importance of publishing writers for the first time, and how by this venture such new writers may find confidence in their crafts. The Magazine has, by virtue of the worldwide web, grown in leaps, and regular contributions now pour in from the rest of the continent.
The goal remains to create unending voices by publishing the finest emerging writers, with a bias for Nigeria, and Africa. In recent editions of the magazine, attention has also been given to the work of emerging visual artists, including photographers, illustrators, and visual artists in general.
Driven by the necessity to highlight poetry as “the economy of sound,” Saraba has also published poetry collections in chapbook forms. These chapbooks have sought out the most brilliant poets working in Nigeria, and have been ambitious in outlook and form. In 2011, collaborating with the UK-based Poetry Translation Centre, Saraba published a chapbook of translated poetry from around the world. In 2013, we launched the Individual Poetry Chapbooks, and have now published collections by Jumoke Verissimo, Dami Ajayi, Umar Abubakar Sidi, Kola Tubosun, and Tunji Olalere.
Saraba, in each issue, offers a reflection of the world, and how literature can speak to, about and for, basic human interaction. Each PDF issue has been based on a theme, and downloaded at least 2,000 times. From 2011 to 2013, in collaboration with PEN Nigeria, Saraba awarded a yearly poetry prize for the best poem published within its pages.
The magazine has gathered quite a following around the world. In 2010, just one year after the magazine was launched, Akin Ajayi writing in the Guardian UK noted, “The success of websites such as…Saraba underscore the depth of talent on offer. By bypassing economic and geographic restrictions, they help to promote an enthusiasm for storytelling and for narratives firmly rooted in the present.”
Editor: Emmanuel Iduma
Senior Editors: Dami Ajayi, Ayobami Adebayo, Arthur Anyaduba, Adebiyi Olusolape
Managing Editor: Adaudo Anyiam-Osigwe
Editorial Assistants: Chekwube O. Danladi, Kemi Falodun, Emily Achieng, Olaniyi Omiwale.
Administrator: Olaoluwa Akinoluwa
Board of Trustees: Adebiyi Olusolape, Ayobami Adebayo, Dami Ajayi, Emmanuel Iduma, Jumoke Verissimo, Tade Ipadeola.
Saraba in the press:
A conversation between Sokari Ekine and Emmanuel Iduma in Pambazuka,” (2010); A conversation between Emmanuel Iduma and Kate Haines in Africa in Words (2013); A conversation between Dami Ajayi and Bwesigye bwa Mwesigire in This is Africa (2015); Dami Ajayi interviewed for The Star, Kenya (2015); Dami Ajayi interviewed by Transition’s Sara Burya in the 2015 Writivism Festival, Uganda (2015); Ayobami Adebayo, fiction editor, on a Black Women Be Like podcast (2015); A conversation between Emmanuel Iduma and Awuor Onyango for the Storymoja Festival Newswire (2015); Emmanuel Iduma interviewed for the Saraba Manuscript Project in This is Africa and Brittle Paper (2015).