‘Water Birds on the Lake Shore’, an anthology of African young-adult fiction sponsored by Goethe Institut would be presented at the 2019 Ake Arts and Book Festival.
The festival themed ‘Black Bodies/Grey Matter’ will happen at Alliance Francaise/Mike Adenuga Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos from October 24 to 27
A statement from the Institut explained that the Afro Young Adult was launched in October 2018 to produce more African literature for Young Adults, with a call for applications that resulted in 435 submissions from 28 countries.
The final stories were selected through workshops in different African cities by panels consisting of writers, literary activists and, most importantly, Young Adult readers from across the continent.
The 17 selected stories, written in English, French and Swahili have been published in an anthology in the three languages.
The project coordinator, Zukiswa Wanner, said: “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 and 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; all written in young adults’ voices.
Asma Diakité, Regional Head of Cultural Programmes at the Goethe-Institut added: “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.”
After its launch at Ake Festival, ‘Water Birds on the Lake Shore’ will be available in selected book stores and libraries across Africa. There will also be additional release events in selected countries on the continent.