Submissions for the inaugural The Island Prize opened in September of 2021. By the time the submission window ended in mid-December, we had received more than 120 entries from all over Africa. There is a myth that there is only one type of storytelling in Africa. We can say with confidence that this is not the case. The submissions we saw were not only written in a variety of styles, but also included different genres and subjects, depicting people and experiences from all walks of life. You need only look at the shortlist to see a sample of these! However, before we get to the shortlist, we must thank our volunteer readers who spent many hours going through submissions and who helped to whittle them down to a longlist of ten. At this point the judges – Karen Jennings, Obinna Udenwe and Hilda Twongyeirwe – began reading the manuscripts and were pleased to note that the ten longlisted authors came from all over the continent, with the following countries represented: Zambia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa and Algeria. After careful reading, the judges were able to agree unanimously on the five manuscripts selected for the shortlist.
And here are the winners:
WINNER OF THE ISLAND PRIZE 2022
“Glass Tower” by Sarah Isaacs
“A Darkness with Her Name on It” by Doreen Anyango
The other three novels could not be separated and so we have three in third place.
STUNNING NATURE & ART LOCATION | ULTRA-MODERN DESIGNER ACCOMMODATION
You haven’t seen anything like this before.
Imagine having five heavenly days to write and write and write in the heart of the wilderness yet with all the modern amenities available to you. Not only that, you’re a step away from an amazing outdoor art exhibition in the NIROX Sculpture Park that you can visit at any time. Located in the Cradle of Humankind, all this could be yours for just R100 entry ticket for this Life Righting Collective lucky draw competition.
Huge thanks to LRC friend Clara Cruz-Almeida for offering this special place as a writing retreat micro-home pod for our LRC fundraiser!
The POD is located inside the NIROX Sculpture Park in the Cradle of Humankind on the R540, 20 minutes from Lanseria Airport; 45 minutes from Johannesburg & Pretoria. Entry to the park is free for dwellers of the POD. A very safe and protected area, the property has guards who inspect the fences at night.
PLEASE NOTE: Travel costs to and from the POD location are for the winner’s account.
A beautifully fitted kitchen has a two-plate gas hob, fridge but no oven or microwave. There’s a braai grille but please bring your own wood, coal and firelighters; you can pick up kindling in the forest. All the necessary cutlery, pots and plates are provided.
A mezzanine bedroom is accessed via a built-in ladder, sleeps two and all linen and towels are provided.
DATES: Monday 1 Nov to Friday 5 November 2021. Check-in is from midday 1 Nov and checkout by 11:00 am on 5 Nov.
Weather is a bit colder in the evenings than Joburg, with lots of dew and spider diamond webs in the early morning before humans move around. It is close to the Bloubankspruit river.
WHAT TO BRING
Bring clothes, warm layers and a T-shirt or two; also an extra blanket to wrap yourself in so that you can enjoy the braai in the evening. Bring a torch so you can take walks in the park at night to scare away the snakes. Yes, there are snakes. It is the wilderness. And boots, as the dew on the grass wets your trainers at sunrise. Bring your own food and drink, firelighters and wood; the restaurant “and then there was fire” is open but booked weeks in advance (you could try and book ahead). There is a bar /sandwich service you can access if you haven’t booked. NOTE: Please keep the POD locked and all openings closed when you go for a walk as a troupe of monkeys can create havoc. You can practise your aim at the monkeys with the slingshot there, and reconnect with your childhood naughty self.
YOUR ONLY OBLIGATION, APART FROM WRITING
If you post on social media about your stay, please hashtag #podidladla and #liferightingcollective or check-in on Facebook, or send Clara a review of your stay that she can quote you on!
HOW TO ENTER
All you have to do is purchase a lucky draw ticket by paying R100 to the LRC Banking account:
ABSA Life Righting Collective Cheque account number: 40 9382 6013 Branch code number 632005. Please include your full name as reference.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Send your POP to email@example.com your name and contact details: email and phone number please, so we can contact you if you’re the lucky winner. All proceeds will go towards supporting the LRC. You’re very welcome to purchase more than one ticket and increase your chances of winning!
Members of the Life Righting Collective EXCO are excluded from the competition. The winner will be decided by drawing a random name and will be contacted to make booking arrangements directly with Clara. The competition is now open and will end on 13 October 2021. The winner will be announced on the 15 October 2021.
Please share and forward this to anyone who might be interested in buying tickets for this fabulous writing retreat.
You could be a winner! And whatever happens, you’re supporting a winning cause… 🙂
Love And the LRC EXCO team
PS: We’d be so grateful if you would consider joining 24 other LRC supporters and become a Patreon member of the LRC for as little as R95 a month. Click on the button below.
The winners of The Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Competition have been announced earlier today. Congratulations to all, but especially Stephen Symons! Stephen’s poem, “Small Souls”, took the first prize in the competition. Karavan Press is the proud publisher of Stephen’s latest collection, FOR EVERYTHING THAT IS POINTLESS AND PERFECT.
“As African writers, we are often faced with a double dose of challenges. Firstly, getting published within African countries can be incredibly difficult because local publishers are often constrained by finances. Secondly, for many writers getting published overseas is almost impossible because the rest of the world has certain ideas of what an African story should be. Having experienced these challenges first-hand – being told that a novel is ‘too African’ or ‘not African enough’ – I know how important it is that stories from Africa be given a wide variety of platforms so that they can be shared at home and abroad without the need to fit certain moulds. I am proud to be part of The Island Prize for a Debut Novel from Africa – a competition where the judges are African and where the winners have an opportunity of being published both in the UK and in South Africa. This is one step towards bridging the gap between here and there, us and them. In fact, it is through prizes like these that authors across the continent can gain the confidence to tell stories as they wish. The hope is that, with time, such stories will become appreciated across the globe, without first being labelled as an exception or a surprise.”
The Red Wheelbarrow held their first poetry competition and announced their shortlist of eleven poets from which the prize winners will be selected. Congratulations to these fantastic poets, among them Stephen Symons, the author of FOR EVERYTHING THAT IS POINTLESS AND PERFECT!
Last night, Dawn Garisch launched her novel, Breaking Milk, at Kalk Bay Books. She was in conversation with Tracey Farren.
In the audience at the amphitheater-like venue outside of the new Kalk Bay Books premises in Kalk Bay, were enthusiastic readers, family and friends, and many writers, among them Karavan Press author, Melissa A. Volker. Thank you to all who attended the event! Your support means the world to us. And thank you to Kalk Bay Books for hosting us! It was a beautiful evening.
Before the launch, I caught up with Caroline Gill at The Bookworm in Fish Hoek. Caroline is the winner of our Karavan Press Review Competition. With her review of A Fractured Land by Melissa A. Volker, Caroline won a R1000 book voucher for a bookshop of her choice and chose The Bookworm, a magical shop which has been in Fish Hoek for over forty years and is a joy to behold. It was my first, but definitely not my last, visit. Yesterday, I found an out-of-print poetry collection by Finuala Dowling there. The book just had to come home with me…
I salute all bookworms. Happy book hunting and reading to you all!
Congratulations to Caroline Gill! With her review of A Fractured Land by Melissa A. Volker Caroline wins the Karavan Press Review Competition and a book voucher worth R1000 for a bookshop of her choice. Thank you to all participants for reading, engaging with Melissa’s novels, A Fractured Land and Shadow Flicker, and submitting your entries for the competition. To show our appreciation, we would like to send you all a copy of Melissa’s next novel, provisionally titled Switchfoot, when it becomes available next year. In the meantime, we wish Caroline happy book buying and reading!
Drawn[ing you] in from the start, Shadow Flicker weaves an entrancing cocoon around the reader, educating them on the hotbed issue of wind farms, and illustrating how communities and individuals respond to life changes, and how it [all] impacts on both sides of the issue. The joining of fiction and environmental issues, with a twinge of romance and mystery, is certainly a genre that is becoming a worthwhile read, and this book is no exception.
It is such a pleasure to read a work that smacks of home, with local dialect and slang sparsely interspersed in an encapsulating story set on our sunny, yet windy South African coastline. The author’s familiarity with the area allows for such a thoroughly descriptive rendition of it, that we are left feeling as if we had just consumed an article from a local travel mag. This story had me sitting with my phone’s map app open, looking up the places and wanting to bucket list them!
The characters are supremely believable, they are our everyday heroes, just going through the motions of life, and trying to make sense of the burdens they carry individually. The plot twist in bringing the two main characters together and the ensuing drama reads like the ebb and flow of the tide.
I find myself wanting to go back into their world, and [to] see how they are doing; always wondering what would be next in their lives as they move forward.
Truly an enjoyable and engrossing read, neither heavy nor too light, and certainly one that I have enjoyed and learnt from!
An Eco-Romance to keep you on the edge of your seat.
I didn’t plan to read Shadow Flicker in one sitting. I thought I’d read a chapter before I went to bed. At midnight, I turned the last page and breathed out!
Melissa A. Volker took me on an unexpected roller coaster ride. Her protagonist, the vulnerable Kate Petersen, has a secret and she means to keep it. On a renewable energy assignment in an Eastern Cape surfing village, Kate’s resolve is challenged and she has to dig deep in order to hold everything together. She takes a risk and does not tell her boss that he is sending her into the very spot where the tragedy which has shaped her life actually happened.
Kate arrives in St Francis Bay, ready to tackle the inevitable opposition to her company’s planned wind farm. The widowed Matthew Sykes, local vet and surfer, proves to be a distraction, and she tries to ignore him at first…
Local residents begin their protest peacefully. But soon this develops into something more sinister, as other agendas surface. Kate is forced to face her worst fears and her secret is about to be exposed to the one person she’s come to care about. Her unexpected strength lifts this novel into a heroine’s journey.
As the drama develops, it becomes clear that other people have secrets too. The stakes are high for Kate. Both her job and her new relationship are under threat. What she doesn’t realise is that her life is in danger too…
Volker is a trail blazer in the Eco-Romance genre. Her gentle voice is unexpectedly powerful. Thorough research, well rounded characters, and a nail biting plot nudge the readers to sit up and take note.
I, for one, will be on the lookout for her next offering.
Gail Gilbride is the author of Under the African Sun.