Water Birds on the Lakeshore
In September 2018, the Goethe Institut announced a new project for writers of young adult fiction on the continent. The project called AfroYoungAdult, coordinated by publisher and novelist Zukiswa Wanner, aimed at shining a light on fiction for young adults, a demographic often ignored in writing circles. To this end, the Goethe-Institut invited aspiring African writers interested in writing for Young Adults to submit short stories in Kiswahili, English or French.
Those who submitted entries and qualified attended workshops in Accra, Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Kigali, Johannesburg, Lagos, Lome, and Nairobi moderated by some of the most respected names in African writing today. On March 1, the seventeen writers whose stories would be featured in the anthology were announced.
These Stories from the oldest continent and home to the world’s youngest population range from the fantastical to ruminations of youth during conflict, the unknowability of death as seen through young adult eyes to the perennial questions around family, friendship and sexual awakening.
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Zukiswa Wanner was born in Zambia to a South African father and a Zimbabwean mother.
Her debut novel, The Madams, published in November 2006, dealt with racial role reversals in post-apartheid South Africa. Behind Every Successful Man was published in 2008 by Kwela Books. Men of the South was Wanner’s third novel and came out in 2010.
In addition to writing fiction, Wanner has also contributed essays to Oprah, Elle and Juice magazines, and literary reviews and essays to Afropolitan and Sunday Independent, as well as the international online journal, African Writing.
Her latest novel, London – Cape Town – Joburg, was published by Kwela in 2014. Her children’s book, Refilwe, was published by Jacana in 2015.