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Lauri Kubuitsile wins the 2007 R25 000 BTA/Anglo Platinum Short Story Competition

Lauri KubuitsileAlert! The 13th BTA/Anglo Platinum short story competition announced on Thursday night that US-born Botswanan Lauri Kubuitsile had won first prize for her story “The Christmas Wedding”. Kubuitsile, 43 – winner of a number of writing competitions – was awarded the first-prize cheque for R25 000 at a ceremony in Auckland Park.

Kubuitsile’s story, about a woman who realises on the morning of her wedding day that her groom might have been complicit in the death of his ex-lover, was also awarded the “Platinum Prize for Creativity”. Congrats to her! Here are a few snippets from the official press release:

Commenting on her achievement Lauri Kubuitsile couldn’t yet quite believe that she has won both first place as well as the creativity prize. “Winning the creativity prize was a wonderful honour. As a full time writer, it’s incredible to win a fiction competition with such wonderful prize money. I have a writers’ group of four women and we encourage each other to keep on writing. They will all be thrilled to hear about this prize!”

The second-place prize of R15 000 was awarded to Trevor Crisp, a 76 year old retired Johannesburg resident who never managed to finish high school. His winning story, “The Landscape” was the first piece of writing he had ever entered in a competition. Trevor said he felt elated at having won a prize: “Even now I cannot grasp that I was successful in reaching the finals! I draw inspiration for my stories from situations and characters I have encountered throughout my life and travels in Africa, and this particular story was an amalgamation of many of these experiences. I’d like to convey my heartfelt thanks to Beulah and the competition organisers”.

In third place was “The Wordsmith” written by Jenny Robson, who has previously won a number of awards for youth literature. Fourth place was awarded to 23 year old Capetonian Tsireledzo Mushoma for “A New Beginning”. Fifth place was awarded to Lourens Erasmus for “Soccer Farm”. Lourens, also a first time competition entrant, achieved double success when a member of South African production company Creative Media International optioned Soccer Farm for film rights.

The competition, managed by reading activist Beulah Thumbadoo, has helped to give voice to thousands of ordinary South Africans and
promoted a wealth of local writing. More than 14000 stories have been sent in from throughout Southern Africa since its inception. “Every other development item on our national agenda is meaningless if we don’t get reading right. Literacy is crucial – we need to become a nation of readers and writers, and Africa needs books if this is to become a reality,” said Minister Mosibudi Mangena when delivering the keynote address.

Eric Miyeni, successful author and a member of the 2007 competition panel of judges commented: “I am proud to have been involved with this competition, which is an incredible tool in cultivating a writing, and more importantly, a reading culture in South Africa and the entire African continent. This year saw a very high calibre of submissions. Congratulations to all who submitted their stories, and particularly the winners.”

This is the eighth year that Anglo Platinum has sponsored the competition. For more, visit www.angloplatshortstory.com.