URGENT Call for submissions: Africa 39 Longlist

The Africa 39 Project needs 39 writers that would be selected from a 120 longlist. The Coordinator is famed writer Binyavanga Wainana (One day I will write about this place and How to write about Africa). Native works and women stand a greater chance of acceptance… Or so it says 🙂


So, do you want to know what the Africa39 Project is about?

The Rules for Applicants

Application Criteria… Click or just read Binyavanga’s Wainana’s letter


DEADLINE: 10th December 2013 Midnight (East African Time GMT +3)


ALL Submissions, as well as queries, should be e-mailed to:



African authors born after Jan 1st 1974 to be honoured in the AAfrica39 project, an anthology to be edited by Ella Alfrey and introduced by Wole Soyinka.

In a year in which Port Harcourt has been accorded the honour of being the first sub-Saharan city to be named UNESCO WorldBook Capitral, a year of Nigeria’s Centenary, The Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts Ltd and Rainbow Book Club have partnered to present the best of African writers under the age of 40 (Farafina)

What is Africa39 Project?

The Africa39 Project has been set up as a key part of the programs and celebrations of Port Harcourt UNESCO World Book Capital 2014.  In April 2014, Africa39 will announce 39 of the most promising African writers of fiction under the age of 40.

The Africa39 Project is a partnership between the Hay Festival of Literature & the Arts Ltd., UK; and the Rainbow Book Club (Port Harcourt, Nigeria).

The Africa39 Project will contact and liaise with African literary prizes, writers groups, literary magazines, and literary festivals.

I understand this is coming to you at short notice. As you imagine this undertaking is huge, and I have only recently become involved in this project. This is a huge opportunity for a new generation of writers, and I urge you to encourage as many as possible to submit an application consideration.

Important Note:The Spirit of the Africa39 Project



Rules for Applicants.

  • Writers may apply on their own behalf
  • Agents and publishers can apply on behalf of writers in their stable.
  • Writers must be under 40 years of age (born after January 1st, 1974).
  • Writers must have published at least one work of fiction.
  • By “published” we mean that you should have published a piece of fiction in print (including self-published) or on-line (including blogs).  The piece you submit for the Africa39 project, however, need not have already been published; it may be a new piece.
  • We are keen to promote writers who show promise.
  • The judges’ decision is final and they will not enter into any correspondence with entrants regarding their decisions.
  • This prize is open only to African writers.
  • By African writer we mean that you are a resident of; or were born in one of the countries listed below.  By African writers, we also mean that any writer who has one or more parents from any of these countries:  Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria,  Réunion, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Saint Helena, São Tomé and Príncipe Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Western Sahara, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
  • Writers from the Diaspora(s) of any one or more of the countries listed above are encouraged to apply.
  • The author must provide the following essential information on the cover page:
    • full name, date of birth, country of origin.
    • contact details: e-mail, telephone number (including country-code), twitter handle.
    • a 200 word biography.
    • a short bibliography of your published literary work.
  • The author must also attach:
    • a scanned copy of the biographical page from one of the following: your passport, your official national identification card, or your driver’s licence.
    • a square author photograph in .png format  minimum of 180×180 pixels.
  • The deadline for ALL submissions is midnight (East African Time/GMT+3) Dec 10th, 2013.
  • ALL applicant submissions should be made VIA EMAIL ONLY TO:
  • All questions should be directed ONLY to this email address:  or on Twitter @africa39list
  • Please ensure your submissions keep strictly to the guidelines and application criteria we have provided in this document.


Application Criteria

  • Applicants must submit one creative piece, that they feel is their strongest work of fiction. This may be a short story, or an excerpt of a longer work of fiction. We are open to creative non-fiction submissions, or an excerpt of a non-fiction novel.
    • The submitted piece must be no longer than 5000 words.
    • The submitted piece must be typed, double-spaced, and delivered ONLY in Times New Roman, 12pt.
    • The submitted creative piece must only be sent as TWO document attachments, each with a cover page containing the details specified in the rules.
    • One of the TWO document attachments must be a Microsoft Word (.doc) file, and another must be a Adobe Portable Document format (.pdf) file.
    • These two documents should have page numbers.
    • Please ensure your submissions keep strictly to the guidelines we have given.
    • With each creative submission, make sure to include, after the cover page, a 500 word synopsis if the submission is an excerpt of a larger work.
    • We strongly encourage submissions of work in African languages. If there is no professionally produced literary translation of creative submission in an African language, we will arrange to have one done.
    • Translations into English of creative submissions originally written in French/German/Spanish/Portuguese or other language are welcome.
    • Where necessary, we will arrange for professional literary translations of creative submissions into English.
  • ALL Submissions, as well as queries, should be e-mailed to:
  • Submissions will be read by a panel headed by Binyavanga Wainaina which will submit  a long-list of 120 authors to the final judges by 15th December 2013.
  • The distinguished judging panel will include the following eminent literary figures: Elechi Amadi, Tess Onwueme, and Margaret Busby.
  • The judges will select the final 39 winners from this long-list of 120, and announce them in April 2014 at the London Bookfair and in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
  • Rainbow Book Club and Hay Festival will contact the 39 authors selected for the Africa39 Project to inform them that they have been selected, and to commission from each, a short story or extract that will be published in the anthology. The prestigious publishing house Bloomsbury is committed to publishing the anthology in English by October 2014 if the commissioned works by the authors are ready by end of March 2014.
  • Nobel Prize winner Professor Wole Soyinka will write the introduction to the anthology.
  • Renowned editor, Ellah Allfrey (OBE), will edit the anthology.
  • The judges’ decision is final and under no circumstances will they enter into any correspondence with entrants regarding their decisions.
  • The copyright of each submission remains with its owner.





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