The 1960s saw a good deal of activity among scholars teaching African Literature throughout Africa and the world, and this led to a series of conferences in African Literature. There was one in Dakar, one in Nairobi, and one in Freetown at Fourah Bay College. At this latter conference, talk gathered around the idea of communication between various English Departments which took an interest in African Literature. We decided on a bulletin, which was just a kind of newsletter between departments saying what was going on. That lasted for a year or two and possibly it was that bulletin that showed the potential of the kind of communication. Heinemann, which had the largest list of African authors, took an interest in the bulletin. We talked about it and after that we started African Literature Today which was founded as a journal inviting articles on the works of African authors.(Eldred Jones, in an interview with Pede Hollist, published in this volume)
African Literature Today (ALT) was first published as a journal in 1968, making it the oldest international journal of African Literature still publishing, now annually:
ALT 1-14 were published by Heinemann Educational Books; the series was then taken on by James Currey in the 1980s.
In 2015 the out-of-print early volumes ALT 1-14 were made available as print-on-demand (POD) titles by James Currey /Boydell & Brewer so that the whole series is available again.
ALT 15-25 were published by James Currey /Africa World Press as a series of annual volumes.
ALT 26-36 were published under the James Currey imprint as part of Boydell & Brewer as a series of annual volumes.
ALT 24-33 were also co-published in Nigeria by HEBN, who printed local editions.
The story of its journey from conception and birth, to growth and adulthood, amidst travails and triumphs, is narrated in epochal anecdotes in this volume. It took undivided dedication and unsparing loving care to sustain it to impressive maturity. That was thanks to two indefatigably committed ‘midwives’ who spared nothing in their endeavours to nurture the mustard seed that sprouted to full bloom. One of the two ‘midwives’, indeed pioneer architects, was Keith Sambrook (of the Heinemann Publishing Company) who departed this world on 1 January 2019.