The authors selected for Africa39, a competition to identity thirty-nine of the most promising young talent under forty in sub-saharan Africa and its diaspora, were unveiled on Tuesday, April 8th at the London Book Festival. This year’s list includes well-known African authors such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Taiye Selasie, Dinaw Megiste, former Caine Prize Winners Tope Folarin, Rotimi Babatunde, Mary Watson and many more.
The ‘39 Project was realized for the first time in Bogotá UNESCO World Book Capital 2007 and for the second time in Beirut UNESCO World Book Capital 2010, and consists of a selection of 39 writers under the age of 40 who have the potential and the talent to define the trends that will mark the future development of literature in a certain language or region.
This year’s ‘39 Project is a collaboration between the Hay Festival, organizers of the’39 Project, and the Rainbow Book Club, the organizers of the Port Harcourt Book Festival. Port Harcourt, Nigeria, was proclaimed Book Capital of 2014 by Unesco. The judges selected from up to 200 submissions researched by Binyavanga Wainaina, founder of the Nairobi-based literary magazine Kwani?
“Africa39 is an important opportunity to showcase, celebrate and encourage a new generation of writers of fiction from the African continent and its diaspora,” said Judge Margaret Busby, editor and co-founder of the publishing company, Allison and Busby. She added “I don’t see this as a definitive or exclusive group, but rather as exemplary of the exciting work the literary world can look forward to in future decades, from those identified by name in the project as well as a wide range of others who are daring to liberate their imagination.”