Daraja Press published Silence Would be Treason: Last Writings of Ken Saro-Wiwa in 2013
and 2018 (2 nd edition). The book, edited by Helen Fallon, Ide Corley and Laurence Cox from
Maynooth University, contains the death-row correspondence of Saro-Wiwa and related
material. His letters to Sister Majella McCarron (OLA) were smuggled out of military
detention in breadbaskets. McCarron donated the letters to Maynooth University Library in
Saro-Wiwa and eight colleagues (The Ogoni 9) were executed by the then Nigerian military
government in 1995, for protesting about the environmental destruction of his homeland
Ogoni, in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria by the international chemical industry.
The publication of the book was partially funded by Trócaire, an Irish aid organisation, with
the stipulation that the book be available free of charge to non-profit community
organisations here and in Nigeria. Daraja (KiSwahili word for “bridge) Press is a not-for-profit
international publishing collective that seeks to build bridges and highlight oppression,
environmental issues and exploitation of people and resources globally. They endeavour to
make books available on open access, while also having print copies for sale.
The book was launched at Maynooth University Library by Dr Owens Wiwa (Saro-Wiwa’s
brother) and in Nigeria by Firoze Manji, Director of Daraja. Royalties from sales are used to
fund a postgraduate bursary in Saro-Wiwa’s name. Maynooth University Library is currently
working with a US film company, who plan to make the letters the basis of a movie.
This case study will discuss the challenges, successes and lessons learned from this
initiative. It will be of interest to those exploring innovative collaborations. It will also be of
interest to those who seek to make collections which embody global concerns, available
freely to underpin informed discussion, action and research in order to create a more just