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Mohlele, Mzobe and Watson Join Adichie, Mengestu, Selasi on the “Most Promising” Africa39 List

Alert! A number of South African writers have made the Africa39 list, along with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Dinaw Mengestu and Taiye Selasi.

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The Africa39 list, which was unveiled yesterday at the London Book Fair, names the most promising 39 authors under the age of 40 from Sub-Saharan Africa and the diaspora.

South Africans Nthikeng Mohlele, Sifiso Mzobe, Shafinaaz Hassim and Mary Watson made the final cut, as did Liberia-born Hawa Jande Golakai, Zambia-born Zukiswa Wanner and Zimbabwe-born Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, who have all published in South Africa.

Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina compiled a longlist of 120 writers late last year, which was then whittled down to the final 39 by judges Margaret Busby, Elechi Amadi, and Osonye Tess Onwueme.

The project, run by Bloomsbury Publishing, Hay Festival and Rainbow Book Club, aims to “celebrate the most vibrant voices in literature” and “bring worldwide attention to some of the best new fiction from Africa south of the Sahara”. New work from the 39 authors will be compiled into an anthology, to be launched in October 2014.

The book will be published in English throughout the world by Bloomsbury, in conjunction with Hay Festival and Rainbow Book Club. It will be launched at the Port Harcourt Book Fair in October 2014.

This will be followed by events across the world throughout 2014 until 2016, including appearances at Manchester Literary Festival, Hay Festival, Norwich Writers’ Centre and the British Library, funded by a grant for the arts from the Arts Council.

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