I started LOATAD in 2017 with 1,300 of my own books, growing it from a one-room office into a two-storey institution that houses both literature and its creators, and building a unique brand that has garnered international press attention and acclaim.
Since 2021, I have secured six-figure funding in grants from donors, having completely self-financed LOATAD for four years, to ensure its sustainability. I’ve built a highly-skilled core team of eight professionals (researchers, project and programme managers) and incorporated a number of interns from around the world who, together, make up a passionate and dynamic team committed to the LOATAD brand and our work.
The Library Of Africa and The African Diaspora (LOATAD) is a library, archive, writing residency, and research institute dedicated to the collection, preservation, and dissemination of works by African and African-descended writers from the late 19th century to the present day.
LOATAD’s collection includes +/- 4000 books by, and ephemera from, writers from 44 of Africa’s 54 countries and Black authors from the Americas, the Caribbean, and Europe. LOATAD has been featured on BBC News, France 24, and Al Jazeera and in Le Monde, which described it as “a magnificent library.” The BBC called LOATAD “a rich repository for present and future generations” while SABC News lauded it as a “collection of rarity.”
- Our West African Writers (WAW) Residency Programme hosts 18 writers from 16 West African countries in residence with us at LOATAD in Ghana for a period of one month. Supported by the ACP-EU Culture Programme for West Africa, we provide writers from the region with the time, space, literary resources and community to focus on and produce their best work.
- Our developing Women’s Oral Archive gathers the unwritten stories of African women from across the continent, with a focus on women aged 60+, and incorporates these stories into the physical space of the library while making them globally accessible online. We also have a crowdsourced audio archive of African women reading the written/published work of African women writers from their own country. The archive is our flagship project.
- We run a five-month digital residency in which we mentor an emerging archivist, librarian, and writer from across Africa and the Diaspora through an intensive programme of online meetings, workshops, and talks. We also pair our residents with an established professional in their field from whom they can learn and seek counsel.
- In 2021, we published our first books – a series of three poetry chapbooks by emerging Ghanaian writers on the subject of Migration/Diaspora in collaboration with Light Factory Publications in Canada. You can download the chapbooks here and watch short videos of the poets reading their work here.
- In terms of the philosophy of LOATAD, these two features perfectly sum up why we do what we do and why: this one in Contemporary & magazine and this one that appeared in Fly Africa magazine. For more press and PR, please see this list of recent and past media coverage.
- We are actively working to achieve our aim of building our own purpose-built facility to more adequately accommodate our library, archive, residency, and event space within the next three years. If you are interested in supporting this, please email info [at] loatad [dot] org.
“A magnificent library”
“A rich repository for present and future generations”
“An unrivalled collection”