Africa39: Hay Festival UK Events (29 November and 1 December 2014)

Following the recent launch of the Africa39 anthology, which selected and celebrates new work from the most promising 39 authors under the age of 40 from Sub-Saharan Africa and the diaspora, four writers published in the collection will appear in dialogue with editor Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, across two events held in the UK at the end of the month.

MOHAMED Nadifa


Africa 39 at the Hay Festival Winter Weekend

Saturday 29 November 2014, 1.30pm

The Swan Hotel, Hay-on-Wye

africa39coverThree of the Africa39 writers, Tope Folarin, Chibundu Onuzo and Nii Ayikwei Parkes, discuss their work and exciting new writing from Africa with Ellah Wakatama Allfrey as part of the Hay Festival Winter Weekend. Hay Festival were joint initiators of the project along with the Rainbow Book Club, and have been awarded an Arts Council Grant to take groups of the 39 writers all over the UK to promote the authors and the anthology between October 2014 and October 2016.

Tickets cost £4 and are available here. For the full Winter Weekend programme, visit the Hay Festival website.


Writing from the Diaspora with Africa39

Monday 1 December 2014, 6.30pm

Free Word Centre, London

headerLogoThis event is presented by English PEN in association with Hay Festivals. Join three leading writers from West and East Africa, Nadifa Mohamed (Somalia),Chibundu Onuzo (Nigeria), and Tope Folarin (Nigeria), to discuss their writing and what it means to be a diaspora writer in the twenty-first century. Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, editor of Africa39, will chair the panel.

Tickets cost £4 and are available here. This event is free for PEN Members – email rebekah@englishpen.org to receive the discount code.


More information about the speakers:

Tope Folarin made his fiction debut in Transition with ‘Miracle’ in 2012, for which he was awarded the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2013. He is a graduate of Morehouse College and the University of Oxford, where he earned two Master’s degrees as a Rhodes Scholar. He lives in Washington DC.

Chibundu Onuzo was the youngest ever author to be signed by Faber and Faber. Her debut novel, The Spider King’s Daughter, was longlisted for The Desmond Elliott Prize, shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Commonwealth Book Prize. She writes comment pieces for the Guardian, with a special interest in Nigeria. She is currently completing a PhD on the West African Student’s Union. Her new novel, The Wayfarer’s Daughter, will be published by Faber and Faber in 2016.

Nadifa Mohamed was born in Hargesia, Somalialand and moved to England with her family in 1986. Her first novel, Black Mamba Boy, was longlisted for the Orange Prize, shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and won the Betty Trask Prize. The Orchard of Lost Souls won a Somerset Maugham Prize in 2014. Her work has been published in 16 languages and her writing regularly appears in the Guardian, Granta,Virginia Quarterly Review and the Independent. She lives in London and is currently working on her third novel.

Nii Ayikwei Parkes is a writer, editor, socio-cultural commentator and performance poet. He holds an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck (University of London) and is a 2007 recipient of Ghana’s national ACRAG award for poetry and literary advocacy. Nii’s début novel ‘Tail of the Blue Bird’ was shortlisted for the 2010 Commonwealth Prize and his work has been translated into Italian, French, Chinese, Dutch, German and Arabic. His latest books of poetry are the Michael Marks Award-shortlisted pamphlet, ballast: a remix (2009) and The Makings of You (Peepal Tree Press).

Ellah Allfrey was Deputy Editor of Granta magazine for four years. Before joiningGranta, she was Senior Editor at Jonathan Cape, Random House. Now working as an independent editor and critic, Ellah is Chair of the 2014 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. She serves as deputy chair of the Council of the Caine Prize for African Writing and sits on the boards of the Writers’ Centre, Norwich and English PEN. A Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, Ellah was awarded an OBE in 2011 for services to the publishing industry.



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