The shortlists in the eight categories at the South African Literary Awards were announced on Monday, October 16, 2023.
The South African Literary Awards, popularly referred to as the SALAs, have honoured many authors since they were founded in 2005. Winning writers and poets have included Es’kia Mphahlele, Nadine Gordimer, Miriam Tlali, Lauretta Ngcobo, Keorapetse Willie Kgositsile, Wally Mongane Serote, Sindiwe Magona, Zakes Mda, Panashe Chigumadzi, Zukiswa Wanner, Sihle Khumalo, Nuruddin Farah, Yewande Omotoso, Sifiso Mzobe, Sabata Mpho Mokae, and Phillippa Yaa de Villiers.
The SALAs, organised by wRite Associates, honour writing and writers in all South African official languages across nine categories. For 2023, a 34-strong panel of judges of the South African Literary Awards (SALA) spent months rigorously reading the over 200 books that answered to the Call for Submissions issued in November 2022. Out of the 219 submissions received, 30 titles made it to the shortlist, under the following categories and languages:
Children’s Literature Award
- Sinathi Mpukwana, Unakho
- Irene Berman, Flap! Rattle! Stomp!
- Kabelo Kgatea, Tutu le Lulu
- Molebatsi Bosilong, Montsane le Motho
- Mr Philip de Vos, Tokkelossiebossie en ander dol gedoentes
- Claudette Browne Storrar, Nelly and Sam Thwala
First Time Published Award
- Ayanda Chris Mntwapi, BOHLULWE KUKUSA
- NTLORO CHARLOTTE PEBANE, LERATO LA LEPHEKO
- Shevlyn Mottai, Across the Kala Pani
- Zodwa Zondi, ALITJHINGI LINGANANDABA
Youth Literature Award
- Annelie Ferreira, Dit het alles begin met ‘n hond
- Dianne Stewart Time of the Swallows
- KOBATE JOHN SEKELE, MAKGOMA A DIHLONG
- Onke Mazibuko, The Second Verse
- Makwena Nkwana, Go tseba mang?
- Mihlali Blackie, Ukuzazi Ukuzithemba Nokuzamkela
k. Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award
- Dimakatso David Mokwena, Here Comes the Gay King
- Vuyisile Msila, Yombela
- Kaka Mokakale, Tswina ya poko
- Anelisa Thengimfene, Amajingiqhiw’ entlalo
- Michèle Betty, Dark Horse
- Stephen Symons, Small Souls: New and Collected Poems
Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award
- Terry-Ann Adams – White Chalk
Creative Non-Fiction Literary Award
- Mandla J. Radebe, The Lost Prince of the ANC: The Life and Times of Jabulani Nobleman ‘Mzala’ Nxumalo
- Siphiwo Mahala, Can Themba: The Making and Breaking of the Intellectual Tsotsi, a Biography
- Sipho Kekezwa, Intlungu yokuhlalwa lilahle emhlana
- KOBATE JOHN SEKELE, RE HWILE LA PITSANA
- Sue Nyathi, An Angel’s Demise
- Thivhusiwi Tshindane Tshivhula, Hone Hu Tshi Tea U Maliwa Nga vhugai
- Fred Khumalo, Two Tons O’ Fun
The winners in each category will be announced at a ceremony on the sidelines of the Africa Century International African Writers Conference on November 7, 2023.