Sunday Times Literary Awards longlists announced

The longlists for SA’s most prestigious annual literary awards for non-fiction and fiction – the Sunday Times Literary Awards – have been announced in partnership with Exclusive Books. Karavan Press has two titles on each list. Congratulations to all longlisted authors, and extra literary hugs to Karavan Press authors: Karen Jennings, Nick Mulgrew, Nancy Richards and Cathy Park Kelly!

FICTION PRIZE

FICTION LONGLIST

This is the 21st year of the Sunday Times fiction prize. The criteria stipulate that the winning novel should be one of “rare imagination and style … a tale so compelling as to become an enduring landmark of contemporary fiction”.

JUDGES

EKOW DUKER — CHAIR
Oil-field engineer turned banker turned writer, Ekow Duker grew up in Ghana, studied in the UK, the US and France and now lives and works in Joburg. His debut novels, White Wahala and Dying in New York, were published in 2014 and were followed in 2016 by The God Who Made Mistakes, and in 2019 by his fourth and most ambitious novel, Yellowbone.

KEVIN RITCHIE
Ritchie spent 27 years at what is today Independent Media, including editing the company’s smallest daily newspaper, the Diamond Fields Advertiser in Kimberley, and its flagship, The Star, in Joburg. He received several journalism awards during his career and wrote the two-volume Reporting the Courts – A Handbook for South African Journalists. He also co-authored The A-Z of South African Politics (Jacana 2019). After leaving journalism in 2018, Ritchie founded a media consultancy which provides communication services, training for journalists and communicators and coaching for editors and CEOs. He writes a syndicated weekly opinion column in the Saturday Star.

NOMBONISO GASA
Writer and political analyst, Gasa is a research fellow at the Centre for Law and Society and Adjunct Professor at the School of Public Law at the University of Cape Town. In the early ’90s, Gasa was part of the ANC’s Commission for the Women’s Emancipation of Women. Gasa has been published widely in newspapers and academic journals, including Women in South African History (HSRC), which she edited in 2007. She has sat in several public positions, including the Commission for Gender Equality, Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and Development Bank of Southern Africa. Gasa has a long history in politics, feminism and women’s rights activism extending to her teenage years which saw her arrested several times by the apartheid government.

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NON-FICTION PRIZE

NON-FICTION LONGLIST

The award will be bestowed on a book that presents “the illumination of truthfulness, especially those forms of it that are new, delicate, unfashionable and fly in the face of power”, and that demonstrates “compassion, elegance of writing, and intellectual and moral integrity”.

JUDGES

GRIFFIN SHEA — CHAIR
Shea is the founder of Bridge Books, an independent bookstore in downtown Johannesburg, and the author of a young adult novel, The Golden Rhino. Bridge Books focuses on African literature and on finding new ways of getting books to readers. The store’s non-profit African Book Trust is the lead partner in the Literary District project, a collaboration among booksellers, city agencies, businesses and other volunteers. Before opening Bridge Books, Griffin worked as a journalist for 15 years, mostly with the international news agency Agence France-Press (AFP).

NOMAVENDA MATHIANE
Mathiane has been a journalist for over 35 years. Her writing career began in 1975 as a reporter at the World Newspapers and she later joined Frontline magazine, where she specialised in writing about life in South African townships. Since then she has worked for most of the major South African newspapers. Her last journalist job was writing for Business Day as the legislature reporter. Mathiane has written three books: Beyond the Headlines, South Africa: Diary of Troubled Times and Eyes in the Night: An Untold Zulu Story. She currently teaches isiZulu at a private primary school.

BONGANI NGQULUNGA
Ngqulunga is with the University of Johannesburg where he currently serves as director of the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (JIAS). He is the author of The Man Who Founded the ANC: A Biography of Pixley ka IsakaSeme, which won multiple awards, including the Sunday Times Non-Fiction Award in 2018. Ngqulunga was educated at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and at Brown University in the US, where he obtained a doctoral degree.

Cathy Park Kelly’s memoir, Boiling a Frog Slowly, shines a light on relational trauma, writes Joy Watson

David Whyte, the author of Consolations, reminds us that to be courageous is not necessarily to go anywhere or to do anything. It is to make conscious the things we already feel deeply and then to live through the unending vulnerabilities of its consequences. To be courageous is to seat our feelings deeply in the body and in the world, to be open to the unknown that begs us on. Boiling a Frog Slowly is an effervescent narrative of what happens when we dare to open up to the unknown, to move on. 

Daily Maverick Life

Stephen Symons reading at Karlstad University

Last month, Stephen Symons gave a reading of his poetry in the Karlstad University Library (Sweden) titled “For Everything that is Pointless and Perfect”. Stephen was in conversation with Swedish poet Linus Gårdfeldt, who heads up the Creative Writing programme at Karlstad University.

Stephen Symons has published poetry and short-fiction in journals, magazines and anthologies, locally and internationally. His debut collection, Questions for the Sea (uHlanga, 2016) received an honourable mention for the 2017 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry, and was also shortlisted for the 2017 Ingrid Jonker Prize. His unpublished collection Spioenkop was a semi-finalist for the Hudson Prize for Poetry (USA) in 2015. His second collection, Landscapes of Light and Loss (Dryad Press), was published in 2018, and third collection, FOR EVERYTHING THAT IS POINTLESS AND PERFECT (Karavan Press) in 2020. Small Souls, a collection of collected and new poems will be published in 2022 by Karavan Press.

Symons holds a PhD in History (University of Pretoria) and an MA in Creative Writing (University of Cape Town). He is attached to the Department of Historical & Heritage Studies at the University of Pretoria as a Mellon Research Fellow.

C.A. Davids interviews Karen Jennings for Electric Literature

When I think about writing, I think about words as stones and the end product as being a dry-stone wall or maybe a path made with stones. That is how the word should be; a path or a wall that everyone needs and everyone can use. You’re not picking up diamonds and creating a tiara for a few. This is the basic stuff of life: words and communicating. 

Electric Literature

Click here to read the interview: Electric Literature

‘The Other Me’ by Joy Watson launched at EB Cavendish and Liberty Books

We had a full house for the EB Cavendish launch of Joy Watson’s The Other Me. Joy was in conversation with the fabulous Rebecca Davis.

This particular Exclusive Books branch is close to Joy’s heart as she has been buying books there for many years and has been reviewing new titles for the bookshop in her capacity as a Daily Maverick Lifestyle contributor and the great reader that she is. Friends of Joy’s organised beautiful live music and a blessing bowl, which allowed all present to say thank you for the good things in our lives and to let go of the burdens we carry.

Wherever she goes, Joy brings with her the emotion contained in her beautiful name. The intimate gathering at the Liberty Books launch of The Other Me was full of it. Joy was interviewed by Liberty Books’ owner, Christy Weyer.

The two amazing women spoke about the novel and Joy’s research and how the two areas of her life influence each other. The conversation was truly illuminating. It is always inspiring to listen to astute readers talk about books. The evening include Cleopatra, the resident literary cat, the book-loving Elgin/Grabouw community, Peregrine hospitality and the warmth of the fire place.

Unforgettable events! Thank you to all who made them possible and who attended.

No one wanted to leave at the end of the evening. We all wanted to stay, like Cleo, who was sad to see us go.

Can’t wait to return!

Azille Coetzee reviews ‘A Hibiscus Coast’ by Nick Mulgrew for ‘Tydskrif vir letterkunde’

A Hibiscus Coast does not simplify anything, does not try to redeem nor condemn—it complicates. It shows how much we lose when we close ourselves off to that which is strange, Other and new—whether it is at home or somewhere else. Although it resists a linear path of character growth and healing for Mary (or any of the other characters) it does offer hope; hope in connection and relation, and in the expansive power of opening oneself up to that which is unknown and outside.

Tydskrif vir letterkunde