We were thrilled to learn today that Novuyo Rosa Tshuma is included in the Africa39 list - a list of 39 of the most promising African writers of fiction from sub-Saharan Africa under the age of 40. The Africa39 Project was set up as a key part of the programmes and celebrations of Port Harcourt UNESCO World Book Capital 2014. The project is a partnership between the Hay Festival of Literature, the Arts Ltd UK and the Rainbow Book Club in Port Harcourt.
We first got to know Novuyo when we were involved in the British Council Identity and Diversity project. As part of the project we published two anthologies of short stories and poems - ‘Echoes of Young Voices’ and ‘Silent Cry’. Novuyo’s short stories appeared in both the collections. So started a long standing friendship with Novuyo. In 2011 we published ’Where to Now? Short Stories from Zimbabwe’, which included ‘Crossroads’ by Novuyo. This collection has recently been translated into isiNdebele, as Siqondephi Manje?, and the isiNdebele translation of Novuyo’s story is titled 'Kwandlela ziyaphambana’. ‘Crossroads’ later appeared in ‘Shadows’ Novuyo’s first collection - a novella and short stories.
Last year we were fortunate to travel to Kenya with Novuyo as the Zimbabwe representatives to a workshop being held there. The programme in Kenya was organised to celebrate the British Council’s partnership with Granta, the UK’s leading literary magazine on their announcement of the “Best of Young British Novelists 4”. One of these “Best of Young British Novelists”, Nadifa Mohamed, is also on the Africa39 list.
Running in parallel with a workshop for publishers on “Promoting New Writers”, which we attended, was a fiction writing workshop in which Novuyo participated. Novuyo joined writers from Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda.
Novuyo is currently a Maytag Fellow in Creative Writing at the University of Iowa. There will be many more stories flowing from her pen.
Congratulations also to the other 38 writers on the list, which includes a few other writers we've been pleased to publish in recent Caine Prize anthologies: Rotimi Babatunde, Tope Folarin, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Stanley Kenani and Mehul Gohil; and Clifton Gachagua, who will be published in this year's anthology.