On 8th April 2014, at a breakfast at the London Book Fair, 39 writers (PDF) from Africa south of the Sahara and its diaspora were revealed as the authors selected as the Africa39. Also announced was that the official anthology of their work, edited by former deputy editor of Granta, Ellah Allfrey, will be published in October 2014.
From the press release:
Africa has produced some of the best writing of the 20th century, from Bessie Head, Mariama Bâ, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Chinua Achebe, Ayi Kwei Armah, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, and the Nobel laureates Wole Soyinka, Nadine Gordimer, J.M. Coetzee and Doris Lessing, to more contemporary authors such as Yvonne Vera, Nuruddin Farah, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, Ben Okri, Aminatta Forna, and Brian Chikwava.
Who will be the next generation?
Following on from the remarkable success of “Bogotá39”, which identified many of the most interesting upcoming Latin American talents, including Junot Díaz, Juan Gabriel Vásquez and Santiago Roncagliolo, who went on to win major literary prizes, and “Beirut39”, which published Randa Jarrar, Rabee Jaber, and Samar Yezbek, “Africa39” will bring to worldwide attention the best work from Africa south of the Sahara and its diaspora. The selected writers will be invited to the Port Harcourt Book Fair in October 2014 as part of the celebrations of UNESCO’s World Book Capital, Port Harcourt, Nigeria where the book will be launched.
- 39 writers under the age of 40 from Africa south of the Sahara.
Published in English throughout the world by Bloomsbury.
Published in conjunction with Hay Festival and Rainbow Book Club.
Supported by Port Harcourt World Book Capital, Royal African Society, English PEN, Arts Council England and Commonwealth Writers.
Events across the world throughout 2014 until 2016, including Manchester Literary Festival, Hay Festival, Norwich Writers’ Centre and the British Library.
The judges, who selected the 39 writers from up to 200 submissions researched by Binyavanga Wainaina, founding editor of the acclaimed Nairobi‐based literary magazine Kwani? were:
- Margaret Busby (UK/Ghana): Publisher, broadcaster and reviewer, editor of the anthology Daughters of Africa.
Elechi Amadi (Nigeria): Author of plays, memoir and novels, including The Slave, Estrangement and The Woman of Calabar.
Osonye Tess Onwueme (Nigeria/USA): Playwright, poet and scholar.
From the Africa39 announcement at the London Book Fair 2014: