Sunday Times Literary Awards

South Africa’s Sunday Times Literary Awards 2019 shortlists announced.

The shortlists for the South African Sunday Times Literary Awards 2019 were announced on July 21, 2019.

The Sunday Times Literary Prize, organised by South African newspaper The Sunday Times, was founded in 1989. It is divided into two with the Barry Rouge Prize focusing on fiction and the Alan Paton Award focusing on nonfiction. It has been won by Bongani Ngqulunga and Harry Kalmer (2018), Zakes Mda and Greg Marinovich (2017), Pumla Dineo Gqola and Nkosinathi Sithole (2016), Jacob Dlamini and Damon Galgut (2015) and a host of others.

The longlists for the Sunday Times Literary Awards were announced on April 21 with fifty books in the running for glory in the two categories. The shortlists for the awards have been announced and they are;

Alan Paton Award

The winner selected by Sylvia Vollenhoven (chair), Paddi Clay, and Tinyiko Maluleke is supposed to demonstrate the illumination of truthfulness, especially those forms of it that are new, delicate, unfashionable and fly in the face of power; compassion; elegance of writing; and intellectual and moral integrity.

Speaking about the shortlist Sylvia Vollenhoven, who chairs the judges’ panel, said, “a nation is like a large, extended family and our collective health is dependent on those among us who are the guardians of our precious moments. The Alan Paton 2019 shortlist is a collection of powerful moments recorded with rigour and beauty.”

The shortlist of five is;

  • Heist!: South Africa’s Cash In-transit Epidemic Uncovered, Anneliese Burgess (Penguin Non-fiction)
  • These Bones Will Rise Again, Panashe Chigumadzi (Jacana Media)
  • Breaking a Rainbow, Building a Nation: The Politics Behind #mustfall Movements, Rekgotsofetse Chikane (Picador)
  • Everyone is Present: Essays on Photography, Family and Memory, Terry Kurgan (Fourthwall Books)
  • Imprisoned: The Experience of a Prisoner Under Apartheid, Sylvia Neame (Jacana Media)

Barry Rouge Prize

This prize, judged by Ken Barris (chair), Nancy Richards, and Wamuwi Mbao, is meant for a novel of rare imagination with a tale so compelling as to become an enduring landmark of contemporary fiction.

Ken Barris, the chair of the judges, said, “the five books shortlisted for the 2019 Barry Ronge Prize are not only extraordinarily good, they show diverse strengths.”

The shortlist of five is;

  • The Boy Who Could Keep a Swan in His Head, John Hunt (Umuzi)
  • The Ones with Purpose, Cynthia Nozizwe Jele (Kwela Books)
  • The Theory of Flight, Siphiwe Ndlovu (Penguin Fiction)
  • Under Glass, Claire Robertson (Umuzi)
  • Theo & Flora, Mark Winkler (Umuzi)

The winners will each award receive R100,000 at a ceremony to be revealed in due course.


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