By Yinka Olatunbosun
The Goethe-Institut Lagos is set to present the long-awaited Afro-Young Adult Anthology, titled, “Water Birds on the Lake Shore: An Anthology of African Young Adult Fiction.” Afro-Young Adult was launched in October 2018, aiming at producing more African literature for Young adults with a call for applications that attracted 435 submissions rom 28 countries. Through workshops, the final stories were then selected by panels consisting of writers, literary activists and young adult readers.
Of the entries, 17 stories were selected, written in English, French and Swahili to be published in three distinct editions. The anthology will be officially launched at the Ake Art and Book Festival which will take place from October 24 to 27 at the Mike Adenuga Centre, Ikoyi.
Zukiswa Wanner, the Project Co-ordinator said that the anthology is the first of its kind in recent memory on a continent where the majority of the population and young adults and yet, often ignored.
Zukiswa said: “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 kinship and sexuality and they are written in young adults’ voices that are sometimes assertive or oblivious to the world around them.
Asma Diakite, Regional Head of Cultural Programmes at the Goethe-Institut , in her assessment of the writings, expressed her sentiments on the work.
“We are hopeful that the anthology will be widely distributed in bookshops, libraries and classrooms all over the world but particularly on the African continent so that young adults in African can see that they are not alone with their hopes, fears and dreams.’’