Editor’s Note – Issue 6

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In March 2019, I left a decade-long career in media and entertainment to chase my childhood dream of becoming an author. It was a year of in-pouring rejections. But it was also the year I stumbled on the submission guidelines of the Journal of African Youth Literature (JAY Lit) and sent in a short story titled ‘When the Sun is Up’. The acceptance I received from the founder and Managing Editor at the time, Bronwyn Bowles-King, was only the second in my writing career, but the first place I was ever published was here. My story appeared in the first issue, released in January 2020. Also, I’ve served here as a talent recruiter, peer reviewer and editor since then, giving me such valuable experience as a literary enthusiast.

I’m sharing this story because this is four years later, and I have not only become a relatively recognisable figure in African literature since then, but I am also here, privileged to put together this issue of JAY Lit as Managing Editor. All this was inconceivable when I started out, and I couldn’t see the slightest hint of an end to the tunnel of rejections I was wading through at the time.

I’m sharing this story because this is what JAY Lit is about. Since its inception, it has debuted young African writers in every issue, giving a platform for their voices to be heard, offering a hand of support to help grow their talent, and helping them believe that they can get out there and achieve much more than they can ever dreamt of before. This issue contains a new selection of young African awesomeness, with several returning authors as well as names that are as new to you as they are to us. They are not only from across the continent but also now from the African diaspora.

We are grateful to Femi Amogunla for a cover image that evokes such raw emotions, and to all our contributors for their amazing talent. These authors have written in English but also in native tongues like MbeMbe and isiXhosa. They share tales of loss, grief, pain, and heartbreak, but also of love, hope, and boundless possibilities. Their stories will transport you to the past, bring you back to the present, and shoot you headlong into the future. Their writing will remind you of what it means to be African. Their imagination will make you proud of that identity.

As a proud alumnus of this prestigious literary institution myself, I welcome you to the Class of JAY Lit Issue 6. We are young. We are bold. We are fearless. We are the future of African literature, and you, our esteemed readers, are an important part of our journey as you help yourself to these sumptuous pages. You’re welcome to an amazing reading experience!

Click here for JAY Lit Issue 6.

Ibrahim Babátúndé Ibrahim
JAY Lit Managing Editor

Ibrahim Babátúndé Ibrahim

Ibrahim Babátúndé Ibrahim

Ibrahim is a Nigerian writer and editor currently based in the UK. He won the Quramo Writers' Prize in 2022 and was selected for the Best Small Fictions anthology in 2024. He was a finalist for the Faber Children's FAB Prize (2023), the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship (2022), a Masters Review anthology prize (2023), and twice for the Moon City Short Fiction Award (2022 & 2023). He has also been longlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize (2022), the Laura Kinsella Fellowship (2022), and the Dzanc Diverse Voices Prize (2021). He has multiple nominations for both the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net. Among other things, he is currently the Managing Editor at JAY Lit and a Fiction Judge at NYC Midnight. He’s @heemthewriter on Twitter and Facebook, and @writtenbyheem on Instagram and Threads. His work can be found on https://linktr.ee/heemthewriter.