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Presentation Details


The Impact of Technology on the Writing and Publishing of Poetry in the Developing World: A South African Case Study

Karen De Wet.

The possibilities available to the publishing of poetry in South Africa are considered by means of a case study covering the past decade and indicating how poetry, often viewed by big publishing houses as too risky to publish, survived and is surviving in a multilingual developing country. Different options and approaches used regarding the publishing of poetry are described.

The main aspects covered by the case study include: an evaluation of websites where poetry can be posted, in terms of what is offered to both poet and reader, as well as the feasibility of such a practice; an analyses of the role of small developing publishing houses in terms of output and the influence it has on buying and reading patterns; as well as an indication of the possibilities available to niche publishers in the e-environment and how this is coming of age in South Africa.

Research done by Galloway (2001, 2002) indicates that literary titles published in Afrikaans during the past decade, has declined. Also that South African publishing houses in general find themselves in dire straits. But this is not the case for Afrikaans poetry. A case study of the situation regarding the publishing of poetry in South Africa is therefore offered. Poetry published in the country's other official languages are referred to as a background and context against which the activity in Afrikaans poetry can be regarded. It is also researched whether the possibilities offered by e-publishing, can be seen as part of this growth, and if not, why not as it is the author's contention that it should.

The paper is thus also offering an analysis of current publishing initiatives in South Africa. Companies (and the products they offer) discussed in the study, include an e-publisher, delivery on request, small publishers and niche publishers.


Karen De Wet  (South Africa)
Senior Lecturer
Department of Information Science
University of Pretoria

Karen de Wet has been teaching in information science, multimedia theory and digital texts at the University of Pretoria's Department of Information Science since 1998.
She is interested in developments because of digital media - including cultural impact, organisation, availability, accessibility and management of digital texts. This interest lead to research being done regarding digital libraries, portals and intranets - taking principles and practices of knowledge management into account.

  • Publishing poetry
  • South Africa
  • Afrikaans
  • Multilingual country
  • Developing country
  • Poetry websites
  • Small publishing houses
  • Niche publishers
  • e-Publishing

(30 min Conference Paper, English)