The team announces Africa39 list. Photo/bloomsburybooks

Top African writers under 40 announced

Africa39 a project celebrating the top 39 African writers under the age of 40 has announced its best at the London Book Fair today.

The Africa39 project seeks to produce a possible snapshot of our shared African future. The unique part of the project is that it lists not just English but African languages with 25% of the long-listed writers from the South of Sahara.

The project started when run by Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina long-listed 120 writers who were then selected by a panel that included Elechi Amadi, Tess Onwueme, and Margaret Busby. Their reward will be that they will be commissioned to write a short story or extract that will be published in the anthology that will be edited by Ellah Allfrey with a foreword by Nobel Prize winner Professor Wole Soyinka. Publishing house Bloomsbury promises to have the anthology out by October 2014 where it will be presented in Nigeria as part of celebrations for Port Harcourt as the UNESCO World Book Capital 2014..

The 39 writers were announced in the last hour and include some of the most known writers on the continent. They are;

  1. ADICHIE NGOZIE, Chimamanda
  2. ALI A MUTU, Richard
  3. ARAC DE NYEKO, Monica
  4. BABATUNDE, Rotimi
  5. BARBOSA, Eillen
  6. BARRET, Igoni
  7. BATANDA, Jackee Budesta
  8. BOTURU, Recaredo Silevo
  9. BREW-HAMMOND, Nana
  10. CHICOTI, Shadreck
  11. DRO, Edwige Renée
  12. FOLARIN, Tope
  13. GACHAGUA, Clifton
  14. GAZEMBA, Stanley
  15. GOHIL, Mehul
  16. GOLAKAI, Hawa Jande
  17. HASSIM, Shafinaaz
  18. IBRAHIM, Abubakar Adam
  19. KENANI, Onjezani Stanley
  20. MENGESTU, Dinaw
  21. MOHAMED, Nadifa
  22. MOHLELE, Nthikeng
  23. MUSITA, Linda
  24. MZOBE, Sifiso
  25. NAMUKASA, Glaydah
  26. NDINDA, Kioko
  27. ODUOR, Okwiri
  28. OLISAKWE, Ukamaka
  29. ONDJAKI
  30. ONUZO, Chibundu
  31. PARKES, Nii
  32. SELASI, Taiye
  33. SERPELL, Namwali
  34. SHONEYIN, Lola
  35. TSHUMA, Novuyo Rosa
  36. UNIGWE, Chika
  37. WANNER, Zukiswa
  38. WATSON, Mary
  39. YUNUS RAFIQ, Mohamed.

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17 responses to “Top African writers under 40 announced”

  1. […] types of panel. Lucky for us the writer has gone on developing his craft and found himself on the list of Africa39 hottest (prosewise not looks as far as I can tell) writers under 40 announced […]

  2. António Teixeira avatar
    António Teixeira

    “English Language Top African Writers Under 40 Announced” would be a more appropriate headline

  3. […] Kwani Trust and publishing house and is at the centre of the African literary discourse even doing a long list 39 of Africa’s top writers under 40. The latter has gone on to write We need new names that was nominated for everything that they […]

  4. […] who is currently on a writing thingie in the US, was listed in the African39 list of writers to watch out for from Africa. Her prize was for her book Shadows published by Kwela. For more […]

  5. […] is the Caine Prize winner who set up Kwani Trust a bit over a decade ago as well as the man who long listed the Africa 39 authors. His piece is called, “Wangechi Mutu wonders why butterfly wings leave powder on the fingers, […]

  6. […] Babatunde, Tope Folarin, Lola Shoneyin, Zukiswa Wanner, Hawa Jande Golakai, Mehul Gohil… the whole list of the gang can be found here. Lovers of the written word could see their favorite writers decked in the white T-shirts of the […]

  7. […] tell the story of a daughter’s quest to conjure up memories of her dead mother. She was also one the Africa 39 list and is one of the Jalada […]

  8. […] Ukamaka Olisakwe was the lady in the banking fraternity until very recently as she joined us in the full time creative business. Just like a typical banker she had already lined up a gig writing The Calabash TV series which is screening on Africa Magic on DSTV. This Ukamaka person has not only written the novel Eyes of a Goddess but she also is listed in the Africa39 project. […]

  9. […] Golakai is a Liberian writer whose debut novel The Lazarus Effect has been doing very well in the African literature scene. The novel follows the exploits of investigative reporter Voinjama “Vee”Johnson in Cape Town, South Africa and her assistant Chloe. You can read my review of that book here. The writer was also one of the Africa39 writers. […]

  10. […] is also one of the infamous Africa39ers that have been at the forefront of the Africa literature narrative in the last couple of […]

  11. […] remember, Angolan Ondjaki was one of the few writers not writing in English who was also on the Africa39 list that was universally loved a few years back. Our brothers and sisters who speak in Spanish have the option of Equatorial Guinean Recaredo […]

  12. […] out as a writer in Kenyan the got continental recognition when she was selected as one of the best African Writers under the age of 40. This was followed by her selection as a Miles Morland Scholar with many looking out for her debut […]

  13. […] French first came to the notice of English speaking Africans when she was announced as one of the top 39 writers under the age of 40 two years ago. This was off the back of her short story Professor about a long-lasting friendship […]

  14. […] Portuguese is Ondjaki the writer of Transparent city and Good Morning Comrades who some of us were introduced to by the Africa39 project. Another writer whose language of choice is Portuguese is Dina Salústio the writer of A Louca de […]

  15. […] listed among the thirty nine writers under the age of 40 likely to make their mark in the future, the Africa39, in 2014. She is the writer of Eyes of a Goddess (2012) and Ogadinma Or, Everything Will be All […]

  16. […] the story of a daughter’s quest to conjure up memories of her dead mother. She was also one the Africa 39 list and is one of the Jalada […]

  17. […] lawyer Linda Musita came to the notice of the African writing scene when her name was on the famous Africa 39 list in 2014. That group of writers who were mostly under 39 with a longlist curated by Binyavanga […]

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