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Africa39 was a collaborative project initiated by the Hay Festival in partnership with Rainbow Book Club,[1] celebrating Port Harcourt: UNESCO World Book Capital 2014 by identifying 39 of the most promising writers under the age of 40 with the potential and talent to define trends in the development of literature from Africa and the African diaspora.[2][3] Launched in 2014, Africa39 followed the success of two previous Hay Festival initiatives linked to World Book Capital cities, Bogotá39 (2007) and Beirut39 (2009).

The judges for Africa39 were Margaret Busby, Osonye Tess Onwueme and Elechi Amadi, selecting from submissions researched by Binyavanga Wainaina. The writers' names were announced at the London Book Fair on 8 April 2014.[4]

An anthology entitled Africa39: New Writing from Africa South of the Sahara,[5] featuring work by the 39 selected writers, was published by Bloomsbury in October 2014, edited by Ellah Allfrey and with a preface by Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka.[6][7][8][9] Containing excerpts from published novels and works-in-progress as well as complete short stories, according to Stephanie Santana's review: "It is an anthology that refuses to be a thematic container for, or a survey of, new African writing. Instead, it is a truly 'plural text' with many entrances, exits, and detours."[10]

The list[edit]


  1. ^ Africa39 Partners Archived 2014-05-06 at the Wayback Machine, Hay Festival.
  2. ^ "About Africa39", Hay Festival.
  3. ^ "Imagine the World", Africa39, Hay Festival.
  4. ^ Caroline Carpenter, "Africa39 list of promising writers revealed", The Bookseller, 8 April 2014.
  5. ^ Africa39: New Writing from Africa South of the Sahara at Amazon.
  6. ^ "Africa39 Book Launch", South Bank Centre, 12 October 2014.
  7. ^ Margaret Busby, "Africa39", Commonwealth Writers (blog), 13 October 2014.
  8. ^ "Africa39: New Writing from Africa South of the Sahara", Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014, ISBN 9781408854679.
  9. ^ Malcolm Forbes, "Continental drift: Africa39, an anthology of writing from south of the Sahara, is too good to miss", The National (Abu Dhabi), 23 October 2014.
  10. ^ "Review: ‘Africa39’ – The Anthology and the Reader", Africa in Words, 6 January 2015.
  11. ^ "Spotlight on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: 'My family says to me, "Oh, you're such a man!"'", Africa39 Blog, 9 April 2015.
  12. ^ "Reading the Africa39 anthology: 'The Banana Eater' by Monica Arac de Nyeko", Africa39 Blog, 31 December 2014.
  13. ^ "Reading the Africa39 anthology: 'Two Fragments of Love' by Eileen Almeida Barbosa", Africa39 Blog, 17 January 2015.
  14. ^ "Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond: 'A shower is a daily reminder of a metaphorical truth...'", Africa39 Blog, 28 May 2015.
  15. ^ "Spotlight on Tope Folarin: 'I don't want to continue being and artist for long'", Africa39 Blog, 10 March 2015 .
  16. ^ "Clifton Gachagua: 'A definition of Kenyan identity has to have in it our continuous state of mourning'", Africa39 Blog, 12 April 2015.
  17. ^ "Spotlight on Dinaw Mengestu", Africa39 Blog, 3 May 2015.
  18. ^ "Reading the Africa39 anthology: 'Sometime Before Maulidi' by Ndinda Kioko", Africa39 Blog, 14 February 2015.
  19. ^ "Reading the Africa39 Anthology: 'Rag Doll' by Okwiri Oduor", Africa39 Blog, 7 December 2014.
  20. ^ " Spotlight: Taiye Selasi's answer to 'Where are you from?'", Africa39 Blog, 28 February 2015.
  21. ^ "Spotlight: Who is Zukiswa Wanner?", Africa39 Blog, 18 March 2015.

External links[edit]