Goethe-Institut presents #AFROYOUNGADULT: A talent-search for Young Adult Fiction from Africa

The writers who will feature in the AfroYoungAdult Anthology project by Goethe Institut were announced on March 1, 2019.

In September 2018, the Goethe-Institut invited aspiring African writers interested in writing for Young Adults to submit short stories of 3000-5000 words in length in Kiswahili, English or French. Those who made entries were then whittled down to those who would attend workshops moderated by some of the most respected names in African writing today.

Those conducting the workshops were Mamle Wolo in Accra, Ghana; Richard Ali Mutu in Dakar, Senegal; Elias Mutani in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Zukiswa Wanner in Kigali, Rwanda; Mohale Mashigo in Johannesburg, South Africa; William Ifeanyi Moore in Lagos, Nigeria; Edwige Renee Dro in Lome, Togo; and Kinyanjui Kombani in Nairobi, Kenya.

Those who qualified for the workshops were announced on January 3 with just over fifty stories from countries as diverse as Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Cameroon, Senegal, DR Congo, Benin, Ghana, Mozambique, South Africa, Rwanda, Uganda, and Malawi.

Those who made the final list that feature in the project and their entries have been announced and they are;

  • Asiedu Benneh – Summer School.
  • Chinelo Enemuo – The Hunter.
  • Fatma Shafii – Safarini.
  • Howard Meh-Buh – Oubliette.
  • Justin Clement – Burden.
  • Kelvin Nonvignon Adantchede – Elxa.
  • Kofi Berko – The Sun is White.
  • Lukorito Wafula Jones – Pepo la Zehara.
  • Laurence Gnaro – Naka, La Guerriere Lama.
  • Merdi Mukore – Cornee Noire, Iris Blanc.
  • Precious Colette Kemigisha – Water Birds on The Lake Shore.
  • Priscillar Matara – Last Places.
  • Raoul Djimeli – Premiere fois pour les nulls.
  • Sabah Carrim – Tara’s Hair.
  • Shamin Chibba – The Year of Failure.
  • Tamanda Kanjaye – A Change in Sleeping Arrangements.
  • Yamikani Mlangiza – Forever Hers.

Award-winning South African novelist Zukiswa Wanner, who is the project’s coordinator, says: ‘When we conceived the idea and did the call-out for the YA (Young Adult) initiative, we expected that we would get ten to twelve good short stories to put in an anthology for our thirteen- to nineteen-year-old readers who are an often ignored demographic in our literature. With the help of the young adults who were part of our judging teams, we were able to get seventeen brilliant stories, much more than we had bargained for.

These stories from the world’s oldest continent with the youngest population range from the fantastical of what another Africa could be like to observations of youth in war situations and the mysteries of deaths 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 teenage voices—familiar to anyone who has ever been (or is) one. Voices that are at times assertive, sometimes uncertain but always aware of a world around them.’

The anthology will be launched later in the year.