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2008 UJ Prize English Shortlists Announced

Blood KinFlyleafGarden of My AncestorsUnconfessed

Six Fang Marks and a Tetanus ShotJa No ManCoconut

Alert! The shortlists for the 2008 University of Johannesburg Prizes for English creative writing have been announced – and BOOK SA’s Kopano Matlwa, Richard de Nooy, Ceridwen Dovey and Finuala Dowling feature in the mix.

This year’s main prize, like last year’s, is worth R50 000, and the debut prize R10 000. Among the publishers, Penguin fared the best, with four titles out of seven; Jacana has two; and with Yvette Christansë’s Unconfessed, Kwela squeeks in with one.

The UJ Prize is unique in that it is genre-less, simply focussing on the best writing in the given language. The Afrikaans prizes were awarded earlier this year (with some haste) to Breyten Breytenbach and Willem Anker.

Shortlist and official statement:

Some of the most exciting names in South African literature are on the shortlist for the 2008 UJ Prizes for Creative Writing in English. The shortlist has been compiled from 50 submitted works. The panel of seven adjudicators has agreed on a shortlist of possible winners:

Main Prize

Ceridwen Dovey – Blood Kin
Finuala Dowling – Flyleaf
Bridget Hilton-Barber – Garden of My Ancestors
Yvette Christiansë – Unconfessed

Debut Prize

Richard de Nooy – Six Fang Marks and a Tetanus Shot
Richard Poplak – Ja, No, Man
Kopano Matlwa – Coconut

The prize winners will be announced by the end of July and the prizes will be presented at a gala ceremony later in the year.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

In 2006, the University of Johannesburg instituted two prizes for Creative Writing in English:

The UJ Prize for the best creative work in English; and The UJ Prize for the best creative debut work in English.

The value of the prizes is:

The UJ Prize: R50 000
The UJ Debut Prize: R10 000

Requirements:

The UJ Prize is awarded to the writer of the best original creative work in English published in the previous calendar year. The UJ Debut Prize is awarded to the writer of the best original creative debut work in English published in the previous calendar year.

The 2008 selection panel

The selection panel comprised the following seven members:

Four members of the Department of English, UJ: Karen Scherzinger, Craig MacKenzie, Ronit Frenkel, Jane Starfield.

Two academics from other universities: Imraan Coovadia (UCT, English Dept), Ashlee Neser (Wits, Wiser),

One member from the media industry or publishing: Shaun de Waal (Mail & Guardian).

Book Details – Main Prize

Book Details – Debut Prize

 

Recent comments:

  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    July 15th, 2008 @13:30 #
     
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    Well done, all! For my part, I'm holding both thumbs for Richard.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    July 15th, 2008 @13:38 #
     
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    Damn! I didn't even realise I was in this race. A nice surprise.

    Thanks, Louis, I think... There are two Richard's in the running. Or was that the joke?

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    July 15th, 2008 @13:38 #
     
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    And congrats to everyone else on the list, of course!

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  • <a href="http://www.sapartridge.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sally</a>
    Sally
    July 15th, 2008 @13:54 #
     
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    My last comment seems to have gone AWOL :/

    Well done Richard!

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    July 15th, 2008 @13:56 #
     
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    Oh, I didn't even notice - you're the man I'm voting for with my thumbs.

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    July 15th, 2008 @14:05 #
     
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    Sorry about that, Sally - a technical glitch swallowed your first comment. Thanks for re-posting!

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  • <a href="http://alexsmith.book.co.za/" rel="nofollow">Alex Smith</a>
    Alex Smith
    July 15th, 2008 @14:15 #
     
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    Wonderful news! Richard I hope you win (that is Richard who has a cat and the same Richard who used to read The Littlest Raindeer, which reminded him of the Ugly Duckling).

    Hearty Congratulations to all though.

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  • <a href="http://karinamagdalenaszczurek.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Karina</a>
    Karina
    July 15th, 2008 @14:46 #
     
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    Ben, do you know why UNCONFESSED is up for the main prize? I thought it was her first novel - unless her poetry volume counts as the debut and that is what they mean with genre-less... But how can one throw novels and poetry collections into one bag? Could one win the prize for drama?

    Anyway: Congratulations to everybody on the list!

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    July 15th, 2008 @15:05 #
     
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    Yes, Karina, it's a bit odd, but I think the UJ Prize is run along lines similar to the Commonwealth Writers Prize, which has "Best Book" and "Best First Book" categories: the novel's being a debut doesn't necessarily exclude it from consideration for the main prize. Shaun Johnson won the CWP for Best Book with his first book; on this list, Ceridwen Dovey's book is also a first novel.

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  • <a href="http://www.modjajibooks.co.za" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    Colleen
    July 15th, 2008 @15:07 #
     
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    Well done to everyone on the list. Have to say as a Book SA blogger and online friend and fan of Richard's the one who suggests having readings in toilets at the book fair, my vote is for you too. What a popular guy if we are all thinking of the same Richard.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    July 15th, 2008 @16:44 #
     
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    I can feel the warmth, people! Keep it coming! Thanks very much!

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    July 15th, 2008 @17:24 #
     
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    Well done Richard. I once almost went to WITS, so I'll see if I can try swing things in your favour.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    July 15th, 2008 @17:39 #
     
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    Thanks! While you're swinging, perhaps you could convince them to make my book required reading at their English and Psychology departments.

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  • <a href="http://henriettaroseinnes.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Henrietta</a>
    Henrietta
    July 15th, 2008 @18:53 #
     
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    Well done Finuala (whom I know), Ceridwen and Kopano (whom I've met briefly) and Richard (whom I've never met but know intimately)... best of luck to all.

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    July 16th, 2008 @10:28 #
     
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    Gosh, I stay away from BookSA for one day (which has nothing to do with the magnum opus but rather with the weather or copper cable thievery: "Link to Cybersmart failed; reconnect pending"), and look what happens. Prawns peel and shortlists generate.

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  • <a href="http://www.moxyland.com" rel="nofollow">Lauren Beukes</a>
    Lauren Beukes
    July 16th, 2008 @13:24 #
     
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    A very nice shortlist. Competition is going to be hot.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    July 16th, 2008 @13:51 #
     
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    Thanks everyone! Could someone pick up the award for me and keep the cash warm?

    Dear UJ, WITS would have been my second choice, but Rhodes agreed to take me. It was wrong, I know, but I was young and reckless.

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    July 16th, 2008 @14:04 #
     
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    Sven, Richard, fear not; in the late 80s I went to a college-radio conference at the then RAU - I'll have a chat with them...

    And, Richard, I'll keep your cash warm for you... in my backpocket, while visiting various bistros and restaurants.

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  • <a href="http://stephensimm.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Stephen</a>
    Stephen
    July 16th, 2008 @14:09 #
     
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    Go, Richard (of the six fangs)!

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    July 16th, 2008 @14:55 #
     
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    Rustum, you attended a radio show? You sound like you might be just the sort of friendship material I have been looking for as I continue on my quest to join an elite.

    Four days have passed since I changed my name, yet the Royal Institute for African Affairs have failed to make contact with me. I am therefore thinking of starting my own elite think tank - the The Irreverent Institute for African Interlopers.

    Once the think tank is up and running we can immediately take up an advisory role with the University of Johannesburg, and ensure that the outcome of the UJ Prize selection process is satisfactory.

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  • <a href="http://www.sapartridge.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sally</a>
    Sally
    July 16th, 2008 @15:50 #
     
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    That's because your name sounds too British Sven. Change it to Sven Shabala-Eick-Nkosi

    That should help.

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    July 16th, 2008 @15:54 #
     
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    I am British.

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  • <a href="http://www.sapartridge.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sally</a>
    Sally
    July 16th, 2008 @16:00 #
     
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    I thought you were Swiss :/

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    July 16th, 2008 @16:01 #
     
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    No, no, no elite. I was 'management' at UCTRadio, in the good old 1980s, when it was a real alternative to mainstream media (music and news broadcasts). And we attended national student-radio piss-ups, I mean conferences, in strange places, like Jozi and Stellenbosch..., sponsored by FNB of all.

    I was just riffing on your and Richard's line about proximity to UJ...

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    July 16th, 2008 @16:18 #
     
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    I suppose the more exclusive the better. With a membership of one the IIAI may just be the most exclusive think thank on the planet.

    Sally the Swiss are also British.

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  • <a href="http://www.sapartridge.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sally</a>
    Sally
    July 16th, 2008 @16:28 #
     
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    think thank?

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    July 16th, 2008 @16:41 #
     
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    If I go back and edit it now your comment won't make thenth.

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  • <a href="http://siphiwomahala.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Siphiwo</a>
    Siphiwo
    August 1st, 2008 @16:34 #
     
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    Richard, congratulations on winning the UJ Prize! Is it true that you are buying drinks for all Book SA pips?

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