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Darrel Bristow-Bovey Wins the Percy FitzPatrick Prize for SuperZero

SuperZeroDarrel Bristow-BoveyAlert! The SA English Academy has awarded its Percy FitzPatrick Prize for Youth Literature, worth R7 000, to author Darrel Bristow-Bovey for his young adult novel, SuperZero, published by Tafelberg.

The same work was also shortlisted for the 2007 MER Prize for Youth Literature, if memory serves. (Ah – yes it does.)

Several years ago, when Bristow-Bovey was embroiled in a plagiarism scandal (and publicly flayed by Robert Kirby), this might have been a controversial pick. But Bovey has “repositioned” himself, as the marketing folk say, with this book – and is persona grata in SA Lit circles once again.

Here’s what the judges said about SuperZero and its author:

The panel of adjudicators noted that SuperZero is a well-constructed, well-written and consistent novel, which is full of suspense and avoids clichés and stereotypical characters (J Inggs, K Mabin and ER Jenkins). The full citation is available on request.

Darrel Bristow-Bovey currently writes for television, having been head writer on two seasons of the popular drama series, Hard Copy, and on the third series of The Lab. He is part of the story and writing team for the popular e.tv daily soap Rhythm City and was Executive Producer for the SABC2 game show Where Were You?. He lives in Cape Town.

The prize will be awarded later in the year. It is a cash prize and a certificate.

And here’s the book blurb:

Durban schoolboy Zed (aka Zachary) was still small when his father died, and he doesn’t remember very much about him. Yet some things seem to run in the blood. For when Zed discovers an old wooden box half-filled with comics in the garage, he falls upon them with such abandon that his mother is filled with dismay and foreboding. “Don’t tell me you’re going the same way as your father!” she laments. “Don’t tell me I have to cope with another deluded male who thinks he’s a superhero!”

And indeed: Zed has become convinced that his destiny is to be a “superhero”, in the comic book tradition of Batman, Spiderman and all the others, and this is confirmed by his grandmother – who, ironically, has been commissioned by Zed’s mother to help him get rid of this delusion! He learns the burden of ethical responsibility that goes with this lonely role and finds himself thrust into battle against a “supervillain” in the form of another 12-year-old schoolboy.

SuperZero presents an extremely engaging and moving story of an unlikely blunderer’s modest belief in himself, and his idealism and courage in doing what he knows to be his duty to others.

Book Details

Photo courtesy Cainprize.com

 

Recent comments:

  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    January 21st, 2009 @14:20 #
     
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    Yay, am pleased -- just gave this to my nephew for Christmas. Superzero was also the runner-up/silver medalist in the Sanlam Youth Literature awards (in 2006 or 2007?)

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  • <a href="http://tsireledzomushoma.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Tsire</a>
    Tsire
    January 21st, 2009 @15:40 #
     
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    Good going Darrel! I'm yet to read SuperZero, but I'm a huge fan of The Lab.

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  • <a href="http://henriettaroseinnes.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Henrietta</a>
    Henrietta
    January 21st, 2009 @21:00 #
     
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    Excellent, excellent. Lovely book.

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  • <a href="http://alexsmith.book.co.za/" rel="nofollow">Alex Smith</a>
    Alex Smith
    January 22nd, 2009 @08:42 #
     
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    Hear hear, that's grand, congratulations. Inspired repositioning too.

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  • Darrel
    Darrel
    January 22nd, 2009 @22:38 #
     
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    Very peculiar, this "repositioning" idea. Makes me feel like an aging rent boy: "Say, this isn't so much fun any more. Perhaps if I turn this way ... and do this with my hips ... hey! that doesn't hurt hardly as much! Good repositioning!"

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  • <a href="http://alexsmith.book.co.za/" rel="nofollow">Alex Smith</a>
    Alex Smith
    January 22nd, 2009 @22:56 #
     
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    Peculiar indeed. Helen I'll have to borrow your stars to put around my *on the floor with laughter*

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    January 23rd, 2009 @09:09 #
     
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    Yes, I should have used the passive voice: "...found himself repositioned... by this book..." But blogs are the first rof draft of history, dontcha know.

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  • <a href="http://liesljobson.bookslive.co.za" rel="nofollow">Liesl</a>
    Liesl
    January 23rd, 2009 @10:08 #
     
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    Passively repositioned...

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  • Darrel
    Darrel
    January 23rd, 2009 @17:25 #
     
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    - Say, Darrel, why are you making that unpleasant face and those strange whimpering sounds?

    - I don't want to talk about it.

    - No, go on, you can tell me.

    - It's nothing.

    - Come on, I know you want to tell me. What is it?

    - It's just ... no, you really don't want to know.

    - Tell!

    - It's just ... last night I found myself passively repositioned.

    Silence.

    - Oh.

    - By a book.

    - Christ. Uh ... was it ... a thick book?

    - No, happily it was a slim volume.

    - Well, that's something, at least.

    - Mmm.

    - What?

    - It was a children's book.

    - Oh my god! That's just sick!

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  • <a href="http://alexsmith.book.co.za/" rel="nofollow">Alex Smith</a>
    Alex Smith
    January 24th, 2009 @10:51 #
     
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    *floored again with laughter* after borrowing some 'first spasms of disgust’ from Henry Miller … it seems the peculiar activity of repositioning would fit quite comfortably in Louis’ fine list of paraphilias … in fact I think I’ll quickly add Repositioning to the tags at the Literary Prostitute post... http://alexsmith.book.co.za/blog/2009/01/15/the-literary-prostitute/

    Done.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    January 24th, 2009 @18:14 #
     
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    Come on Darrel - join us! Blog here!!

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    January 24th, 2009 @20:47 #
     
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    Seconded.

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  • <a href="http://tomeaton.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Tom</a>
    Tom
    January 24th, 2009 @23:51 #
     
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    Louis, shades of the voices inside the 'Poltergeist' telly. Which compels me to tell Darrel: "No, baby! Stay away from the light! Don't go into the light!"

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  • <a href="http://sarahlotz.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sarah Lotz</a>
    Sarah Lotz
    January 25th, 2009 @13:35 #
     
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    Not true, Tom. 'Cross over, children. All are welcome. All are welcome in the light.' (said best in squeaky Zelda Rubenstein voice.)
    Oh, and my favourite: 'This house is clean'.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    January 25th, 2009 @14:56 #
     
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    Yes, Darrel, why not actively reposition yourself here?

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  • <a href="http://liesljobson.bookslive.co.za" rel="nofollow">Liesl</a>
    Liesl
    January 26th, 2009 @09:15 #
     
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    Neatly put, Richard, was about to encourage that action myself.

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  • <a href="http://www.moxyland.com" rel="nofollow">Lauren Beukes</a>
    Lauren Beukes
    January 26th, 2009 @10:24 #
     
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    Oh yeah, great, cos that's just what we need around here is ANOTHER funny writer type typing up deadly witticisms and killer puns.

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  • <a href="http://henriettaroseinnes.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Henrietta</a>
    Henrietta
    January 26th, 2009 @17:55 #
     
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    Shy one, that Darrel - we were lucky to catch a glimpse. He may not be back. We need to be extremely quiet and still, and hope we haven't spooked him too badly. He's probably watching us right now from the shadows. Waiting. Sniffing the breeze.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    January 26th, 2009 @19:46 #
     
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    Sshh ... be vewy, vewy quiet...

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    February 1st, 2009 @18:12 #
     
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    Darryl, at the (extremely high) risk of spooking back into the undergrowth, can I buy you a drink sometime now that you live in this fair city? I owe you one (or you owe me one) for certain decisions taken regarding Superzero's silver medal.

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