Discover the best new writing from Africa South of the Sahara, by 39 writers under 40 – with an introduction by Nobel Prize laureate Wole Soyinka AFRICA39

Published by Bloomsbury, 23 October 2014 Trade paperback £12.99 · eBook £10.99

Africa has produced some of the best writing of the 20th and 21st 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, Nuruddin Farah, 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. Praise for Beirut39: “This collection was a really necessary undertaking … There’s a kind of renaissance taking place, it seems, among young Arab writers … We need their voices now more than ever” - Dave Eggers “Timely and worthwhile … Brimming with exuberance and sparkling with innovation” - Guardian IMPORTANT NOTE: There will be a breakfast press conference to unveil the writers’ names on Tuesday 8 April 2014 at 9.30am at PH UNESCO World Book Capital exhibition stand (stand number: i400), The London Book Fair, Earls Court Exhibition Centre, Warwick Road, London SW5 9TA. Breakfast and introductions from Margaret Busby, one of the judges, Koko Kalango, founder of the Rainbow Book Club, Peter Florence and Cristina Fuentes from the Hay Festival, and Bill Swainson from Bloomsbury Publishing. What is the 39 Project? As one of the leading literature festivals in the world, Hay Festival has always been interested in highlighting new talent and has collaborated with the UNESCO “World Book Capital” project so far in Bogotá and Beirut. This title is awarded to a different city every year to celebrate the quality and variety of its initiatives to promote books, readership and the editorial industry. The 39 Project consists of the 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. 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), resulting in both cases in a Literature Festival in each city with the 39 selected authors from each region (Latin America and the Arab World): four days of literature, debate and the love of books together, with an anthology published of stories/extracts of the authors. The selection of the 39 writers was made using the following criteria: - The writers were chosen by a panel of well-known judges - The selected writers had to be under the age of forty and from the region or diaspora - The selected authors had to have at least one work of fiction published and potential for development - Publishers, literary agents and critics from around the world were consulted to create the longlist . Hay Festival has received a “grant for the arts” from the Arts Council for the authors included in the Africa 39 project to assist writers to take part in some of the literary festivals. The visit of these 39 writers considered some of the best aged under 40 from Africa South of the Sahara will include events at the Manchester Literary Festival, Hay Festival, Norwich Writers’ Centre, Free the Word, Royal African Society events at the British Library, Bristol Festival of Ideas, and Bloomsbury Institute. Further details at

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