Africa has produced some of the best writing of the twentieth century from 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 recent talents like Nuruddin Farah, Ben Okri, Aminatta Forna and Brian Chikwava. Who will be the next generation?
Following the successful launch of Bogotá39, which identified many of the most interesting upcoming Latin American talents, including Daniel Alarcon, Junot Diaz (Pulitzer Prize), Santiago Roncagliolo (Independent Foreign Fiction Prize) and Juan Gabriel Vásquez (short-listed for the IFFP), and Beirut39 which published Randa Jarrar, Rabee Jaber, Joumana Haddad, Abdellah Taia and Samar Yazbek, Africa39 will bring to worldwide attention the best work from Africa and its diaspora. The judges will select from up to 200 submissions researched by Binyavanga Wainaina, the founding editor of the acclaimed Nairobi-based literary magazine Kwani?, and the writers' names will be unveiled in Port Harcourt and at the London Book Fair in April 2014. Africa39 will be published in English throughout the world by Bloomsbury.
Africa39 is a Hay Festival and Rainbow Book Club project which aims to select and celebrate 39 of the best young African writers from south of the Sahara. It will be launched at the PH Book Festival in UNESCO's World Book Capital, Port Harcourt, Nigeria, in October 2014.
The three judges are: