The Hay Festival, an international non-profit organisation based in Wales, partnered with the Rainbow Book Club to organize the ‘Africa 39′ project in celebration of the Port Harcourt World Book Capital year.’Africa 39’ is the selection and celebration of 39 African authors under the age of 40. Kenyan author, Binyavanga Wainaina, handled the call for entries and selection of the long list of 200 authors. The judges who chose the final 39 were: Tess Owueme, Magaret Busby, and Veteran Port Harcourt author, Elechi Amadi (who chaired the panel of judges). The list of the ‘Africa 39’ authors was announced at the Port Harcourt World Book Capital (PHWBC) stand at the London Book Fair, April 2014. The ‘Africa 39’ project was also presented at the PHWBC opening ceremony by Izara Garcia Rodriguez representing Hay Festival. The stories of the 39 authors were edited by Ella Allfrey and published by Bloomsbury in a book titled ‘Africa 39’. The foreword to the book was written by Noble Laureate, Wole Soyinka. 22 of the ‘Africa 39’ authors were sponsored by the PHWBC project to attend the Port Harcourt Book Festival 2014.

'Africa 39' writers at the Ken Saro-Wiwa centre, Port Harcourt, October 2014
L-R, Caine Prize winners Rotimi Babatunde (2012), Okwiri Oduor (2014) and Tope Folarin (2013) who were also part of the 'Africa 39' authors at the Port Harcourt Book Festival, October 2014
Christie Bature-Ogbeifun in conversation with some of the 'Africa 39' authors