Yoruba Love Stories by Olabode Ogunlana

After a career in Insurance, and a post-graduate degree at Buckingham University, Olabode Ogunlana turned his skill for storytelling into fiction writing. At Buckingham University, he had conversations with academics, about translating his thesis into short stories. The gem of an idea for Yoruba Love Stories and The Quest for The Rare Leaf and Other Yoruba Tales emerged.

Approach
We spent approximately a year and a half looking for a publisher. In the summer of 2013 at the Royal Africa Society’s Africa Writes literary festival we met with Nigel Watt: publishing editor at Books of Africa. We took an unusual, perhaps, risky step of developing illustrated visual concepts for four – Love, Romance, Myth, and Legends – book themes. The idea is to use these prototypes to persuade publishers of the merit in the narratives.

Publisher Feedback
Before meeting with Nigel Watts, editor at publishers Books of Africa, the editorial design team, designer: Angela Lyons; designer: Leo Cooper; illustrator: Phil Wrigglesworth, and design lead: Ayodeji Alaka met with the author; to break down each story into its character arc.  Each story was read in a cultural context. There are sixteen stories.

The team set about interpreting each narrative, mocking up color palettes, and making editorial design decisions that impact audience experience, beyond the book. Illustrator Phil Wrigglesworth had to visually sum up a visual theme for each story with thumbnails.

Whilst we waited for completed artwork from Phil Wrigglesworth, Leo Cooper set up a master file for the book, paragraph, character styles, and a baseline grid. They picture mapped the book. In the meantime, each story was under review by Stephen Williams, Dele Meiji Fatunla, editor at Royal Africa Society. Whilst Leo Cooper waited on final proofs of each story to come back, we used unedited versions of each story as a place holder text.

Following a series of multiple editorial reviews and meetings between colleagues at Books of Africa and the author, Books of Africa decided to collaborate as publishers.

Prepress: editorial review

Writer Dele Meiji Fatunla and playwright Ade Solanke, as well as other creatives, reviewed the book as a reading experience; their feedback informed editorial design.

We developed two books in softback format – Yoruba Love Stories and The Quest for The Rare Leaf and Other Yoruba Tales.

RAS Africa Writes 2014 Photography ©Yves Salmon

Project Team

Writer: Bode Ogunlana, Design Management: OsanNimu. Illustration: Phil Wrigglesworth. Communication Graphics: Leo Cooper & Angela Lyons. Creative Direction: Ayodeji Alaka. Book Launch platform in the UK Royal Africa Society's Africa Writes 2014. Publisher: Books of Africa. Collaboration for book launch (and West Africa distribution) in Lagos with Kachifo Ltd. Post Production Advisory: Ade Solanke and Africa Writes 2014 Team

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