Six Kenyan authors have made it to the list of Africa39, a Hay Festival and Rainbow Book Club Project which aims to select and celebrate 39 of the best African south of 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 selection process of the 39 writers, which began last year, is made using the following criteria:
The writers are chosen by a panel of well-known judges.
The selected writers have to be under the age of 40 and to come from the region or diaspora.
The selected authors need to have at least one work of fiction published and potential for development.
Publishers, literary agents and critics from all over the world are consulted to create the longlist of authors.
The judges selected from up to 200 submissions researched by Kenya’s Binyavanga Wainaina, founder of the Nairobi-based literary magazine Kwani?
Below is a list of the six authors who made it to Africa39
Clifton Gachagua – winner of the 2013 inaugural Sillerman Prize for African Poetry
Clifton Gachagua: he won of the 2013 inaugural Sillerman Prize for African Poetry. In 2013 he was long listed for the 2013 Kwani? Manuscript Project and his debut poetry collection, The Madman at Kilifi, was published in 2014. His work has appeared in publications including Storymoja and Kwani? He is currently an editor and television scriptwriter.
Stanley Gazemba: journalist and author of three novels: The Stone Hills of Maragoli, Khama and Callused Hands and eight children’s books. A recipient of the Jomo Kenyatta Prize, his articles and stories have appeared in publications including ‘A’ is for Ancestors, the Caine Prize Anthology, the East African and the New York Times.
Mehul Gohil: winner of the Kwani? ‘The Kenya I Live In’ short story prize in 2010. His fiction has been published in Kwani? and on several online platforms including Short Story Day Africa. His journalism has appeared in publications including the Shahan Journal and chessbase.com.
Linda Musita: writer, editor and lawyer. She is a literary agent at Lelsleigh Inc in Nairobi and an editor at the Star newspaper. Her fiction has been published on the Storymoja publishers’ blog and the Daily Nation. A Storymoja Hay Festival 2012/13 fellow, she is currently working on her first novel.
Kioko Ndinda : writer and filmmaker. Her stories have been published in Fresh Paint – Literary Vignettes by Kenyan Women, and Amka Space for Women’s Creativity and other publications including Sanaa literary magazine. A new story is forthcoming in Jalada Africa, an African writers’ collective.
Okwiri Oduor : She is a 2014 MacDowell Colony fellow. She is currently at work on her debut novel