Africa39: New Writing from Africa south of the Sahara

Africa39: New Writing from Africa south of the Sahara

Ellah Wakatama Allfrey

Language: English

Pages: 384

ISBN: 1620407795

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In 2014, UNESCO's World Book Capital is Port Harcourt, Nigeria-the first city in Africa to receive the designation by public bid.

This makes it a special year for the Port Harcourt Book Festival, which will be in its seventh year, and bigger than ever. They are joining forces with the internationally renowned Hay Festival, which will bring to Port Harcourt its 39 Project-a competition to identify the thirty-nine most promising young talents under the age of forty in sub-Saharan Africa and the diaspora. It follows the success of Bogotá 39 in 2007 and Beirut 39 in 2010. Both recognized a number of authors who now have international profiles: in Bogotá, Adriana Lisboa, Alejandro Zambra, Juan Gabriel Vásquez, Daniel Alarcón, and Junot Díaz; in Beirut, Randa Jarrar, Joumana Haddad, Abdellah Taia, Samar Yazbek, and Faiza Guene. In Nigeria this year, the esteemed judges include leading-edge publisher Margaret Busby; novelist and playwright Elechi Amadi,writer and scholar Osonye Tess Onwueme, and Caine Prize winner Binyavanga Wainaina.

For the second time, Bloomsbury is honored to be a part of the festivities, publishing worldwide Africa39-a collection of brand new work from these talented thirty-nine.

With an introduction by Wole Soyinka, Africa39 is a must-read for anyone curious about Africa today and Africa tomorrow, as envisioned through the eyes of its brightest literary stars.











him that it had been too long but I was happy to see him whole again. I reminded him to dazzle his ancestors with his butterflies. Spider-hands. I touched his hand and swore that no one in our home would hear of poverty or pain again. I celebrated my father’s funeral in a way Ilara will never forget. Every masquerade came out to pay homage. Every reverend in the diocese came to the church service. The party that followed the burial was a carnival. I invited my friends and they came from Ibadan,

vegetables for him, making a mental note to add some frijoles from the sack he kept on his kitchen table. Then, surveying his half-acre plot, its boundary marked by a thigh-high chicken run that held six clucking red- and brown-feathered hens, Yunior shrugged and uprooted carrots and onions for his other band mates. Peopleist philosophy was now almost instinctive. In a break during rehearsals, he handed to drummer, trumpeter, pianist and bass player, roughly-cut sugar sacks sewn into quaint,

the cockerel – cock-a-doodle-doo! On the blistering horizon.’ ‘That’s my brother!’ Abednego yelled above the buoyancy as Zacchaeus clambered down the stage. ‘Hey, hey, that poet is my brother! He even performed in front of Lord Carrington and Prime Minister Mugabe at the Lancaster House Conference! Yes, I know him very personally, he’s my brother!’ It was the last time he remembered them so happy together, intoxicated by the future, falling into each other’s arms like true brothers of the

legend had been transported from Kingston to Calcutta and whom even the merchants from Europe called the Tiger of the Mangroves? Hell, he can’t yet be forty, Henry Hamilton would record that night in his diary. Just about my own age. Had Koko been born in a different clime and of a fairer hue, Hamilton would go on to note, they could have been in the same class studying Classics at King’s College. Like the consul, Koko could also have picked up employment in Her Majesty’s imperial service.

delivery for a client,’ I say. He creases eyebrows but says nothing. He turns and walks away. I dial Mahmood’s number from my mobile. ‘Ha, who’s this?’ The line is bad but I can tell that it isn’t Mahmood. ‘Salman?’ I enquire. ‘Yes, Irfan bhai,’ he confirms. And then he goes silent. ‘Where’s Mahmood? Why do you answer his phone, useless idiot, give him the phone!’ There’s silence. Why does he have Mahmood’s phone? ‘Mahmood is dead,’ he finally says. ‘Huh? What shit are you talking?’ I

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