As many of you would have seen when the original press release about the University of Johannesburg Prize for Creative Writing shortlists went out on 15 September, our A Hibiscus Coast by Nick Mulgrew was included — troublingly, however, for the debut prize.
But the novel is the author’s fourth book, a fact clearly stated both inside the book and on its cover.
We were thrilled nevertheless, because we thought that the inclusion of the novel might have been a simple administrative mix-up, and that the novel belonged on the main category’s shortlist.
When we asked for clarification before making an official announcement on our side, however, the response was:
“Unfortunately, the UJ literary prize panel erroneously shortlisted Nick Mulgrew’s The [sic] Hibiscus Coast as a debut publication. As his publisher pointed out that he had published creative writing previously, we have removed this wonderful book from the debut shortlist. Apologies for any inconvenience caused.”
With considerable disappointment, therefore, the book has been withdrawn entirely from consideration for the University of Johannesburg Prizes.
Thank you to all who congratulated Nick and Karavan Press after the initial press release. We are celebrating this exceptional novel (shortlist or no shortlist) and continue to congratulate the shortlisted authors.
Here is the updated, correct (sadly for us), press release: JRB.