AfroYoungAdult anthology to launch at Ake Book Festival

Goethe-Institut’s AfroYoungAdult anthology to launch at Ake Book Festival 2019.

The AfroYoungAdult anthology from the Goethe-Institut will launch at the Ake Book Festival 2019 in Lagos, Nigeria which happens on October 24-27, 2019.

In September 2018, the Goethe-Institut announced a new project for writers of young adult fiction on the continent. The project called AfroYoungAdult aimed at shining a light on fiction for young adults, a demographic often ignored in writing circles. To this end, the Goethe-Institut invited aspiring African writers interested in writing for Young Adults to submit short stories in Kiswahili, English or French.

Those who submitted entries and qualified attended workshops in Accra, Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Kigali, Johannesburg, Lagos, Lome, and Nairobi moderated by some of the most respected names in African writing today. On March 1, 2019, the seventeen writers whose stories would be featured in the anthology were announced.

The Goethe-Institut has today officially announced the release of the long-awaited AfroYoungAdult anthology, titled Water Birds on the Lake Shore: An Anthology of African Young-Adult Fiction. The 17 selected stories, written in English, French and Swahili, have now been published in an anthology which appears in three editions – one in English, one in French and one in Kiswahili. The official launch is at the Ake Book Festival, in Lagos, Nigeria from October 24-27, 2019.

Novelist and publisher Zukiswa Wanner, the project coordinator, points out: “The Goethe-Institut Sub-Saharan Africa has been at the forefront of the Afro Young Adult initiative. This anthology is the first of its kind in recent memory on a continent where the majority of the population are young adults yet are too often ignored. Despite the unforeseen costs that came up in the process, they did not give up on it, and in this way, exemplified how developmental partners can work together with the African continent in literature.”

The stories in the anthology range from the fantastical to observations of youth in war situations and the mysteries of death; to personal questions about family, friendships and sexuality. Despite the wide-ranging topics, what all these stories have in common is that they are written in young adults’voices – familiar to anyone who has ever been (or is) at the start of adult life. Voices that are at times assertive, sometimes uncertain but always aware of a world around them.

Asma Diakité, Regional Head of Cultural Programmes at the Goethe-Institut concludes:“The stories in the anthology shine a light on the issues that young Africans are concerned with – the importance of these voices from the continent with the world’s youngest population cannot be underestimated. We are hopeful that the anthology will be widely distributed in book shops, libraries and classrooms all over the world, but particularly on the African continent so that young adults in Africa can see that they are not alone with their hopes, fears, and dreams.”

The anthology will be available in selected book stores and libraries all over Africa. There will be additional release events in selected countries on the continent. For further information, visit the project website Goethe.de/AYA or contact Zukiswa Wanner, Project Coordinator at [email protected] or Jonas Radunz, Public Relations Officer of the Goethe-Institut South Africa at [email protected]

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