Africa39 brings to worldwide attention some of the best new fiction from Africa south of the Sahara

A Hay Festival and Rainbow Book Club project celebrating Port Harcourt UNESCO World Book Capital 2014.

Africa39 is a Hay Festival and Rainbow Book Club Project which has selected and now celebrates 39 of the best African south of the Sahara writers under the age of 40. It was launched in UNESCO’s World Book Capital, Port Harcourt, Nigeria, in October 2014. Join Africa 39 on Facebook.

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. Read more...

  • hay festival africa39

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, with an anthology published of stories/extracts by the authors. The Africa39 anthology is published in English throughout the world by Bloomsbury.

  • Margaret Busby Africa39

    Judge: Margaret Busby

    Born in Ghana, UK-based publisher, broadcaster and reviewer Margaret Busby is editor of the anthology Daughters of Africa.

  • Elechi Amadi Africa39

    Judge: Elechi Amadi

    Nigerian author of plays, memoir and novels, including The Slave, Estrangement and The Woman of Calabar.

  • Osonye Tess Onwueme Africa39

    Judge: Osonye Tess Onwueme

    Born in Nigeria and now based in the US, Osonye Tess Onuweme is a playwright, poet and scholar.

  • Port Harcourt World Book Capital 2014

    Port Harcourt was nominated for the impact it would have on improving Nigeria's culture of books, reading, writing and publishing to improve literacy rates.