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2009 PEN/Studzinski Literary Award Finalists Announced

Ken BarrisCeridwen DoveyRosemund Handler

Alex Smith and Jeanne HromnikKirsten MillerIsabella MorrisPhillippa Yaa de Villiers

Alert! The 34 stories that made the cut for final judging in the 2009, £10 000 inaugural PEN/Studzinski Literary Award have been announced by SA PEN. Details from the official press release:

“The award for original short stories in English by African authors attracted an unprecedented 827 entries, 625 of which met with the rules of entry. Just under 200 stories were longlisted, and 34 stories were chosen as finalists by the PEN Editorial Board comprising Shaun Johnson (Chair), Anthony Fleischer, Justin Fox, Harry Garuba, Alistair King and Mary Watson. Nobel Laureate JM Coetzee is currently judging the shortlisted stories and will choose the winners of the first (£5 000), second (£3 000) and third (£2 000) prizes. The winners will be announced in May 2009…. The finalists’ stories will be included in an anthology of new writing from Africa to be published later this year.”

Brace yourselves, O burghers of BOOK SA. Here are the finalists:

**

Ken Barris – “The life of Worm”
Nadia Davids – “The visit”
Ceridwen Dovey – “Survival mechanisms”
Joan du Toit – “An informed decision”
Graham Ellis – “No match for Fanie Smith”
Rosemund J Handler – “Strident night”
Jeanne Hromnik – “Love In troubled times”
Karen Jayes – “Where he will leave his shoes”
Suzanne Jordaan – “Beulah”
Bobby Jordan – “Metalhead and Situation Orange”
Chisanga Kabinga – “Display cabinet”
Ken N Kamoche – “A kiss in Nanjing”
Yvette Kruger – “What I wore”
Lauri Kubuitsile – “Pulani’s eyes”
Beatrice Lamwaka – “The star in my camp”
Jennifer Lean – “To each his own”
Irene McCartney – “Pauline’s ghost”
Jenna Mervis – “The lives of dogs”
Kirsten Miller – “Only in art”
NoViolet Mkha Bulawayo – “Snapshots”
Wame Molefhe – “Rainbow-coloured dreams”
Natasha Moodley – “Spirit of Madala”
Isabella Morris – “Bluette”
Kyne Nislev Bernstorff – “The last supper”
Naomi Nkealah – “In the name of peace”
Maik Nwosu – I”n Leopardville”
Tolu Ogunlesi – “River Falling”
Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi – “Area boy rescue”
Andrew Salomon – “A visit to Dr Mamba”
Alex Smith – “Soulmates”
Dineke Volschenk – “Glorious wounds”
Phillippa Yaa de Villiers – “Keeping everything the same”
Hayet Z – “Flypapered days”

**

Speculation has it that the winner will be announced during the Franschhoek Literary Festival – which may also see a few preview copies of the anthology passed around. (The book will be published by the new boutique imprint, Johnson & King James.)

The PEN/STUDZINSKI Literary Award has replaced the HSBC/SA PEN Literary Award and aims to encourage new creative writing in Africa. It is open to all citizens of African countries writing in English. Good luck to the finalists!

 

Recent comments:

  • <a href="http://liesljobson.bookslive.co.za" rel="nofollow">Liesl</a>
    Liesl
    February 5th, 2009 @10:31 #
     
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    Fabulous, fabulous line up of writers. Good luck and well done to all on the shortlist.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    February 5th, 2009 @10:43 #
     
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    Alex, I'm thrilled to see you up there! Yay, it was worth getting that sticky review if this is what it inspired. Congratulations to all.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    February 5th, 2009 @10:46 #
     
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    Yay! Well done Alex! You of all of us deserve some CASH for all your creative efforts - though I know the mere mention gives you pain. I'll do the materialism on your behalf, you carry on the creativity.

    I'm holding thumbs for you and Phillippa too.

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  • <a href="http://www.modjajibooks.co.za" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    Colleen
    February 5th, 2009 @10:47 #
     
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    Congratulations to all finalists, especially to Alex, Lauri, Phillippa, Isabella and Wame - just because I know you! Look fwd to reading the collection as always.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    February 5th, 2009 @10:53 #
     
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    Well done to everyone, but especially to the BookSA bloggers! Holding thumbs for you...

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    February 5th, 2009 @10:56 #
     
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    And comiserations, of course, to all those who didn't make the cut. I'm sure that most of us here submitted something - I submitted two stories. From my own perspective, since I submitted my stories, I've reconsidered them (thanks in part to Rustum's sage advice) and am glad I have the chance to rewrite them before they go on to win awards.

    I'm also proud to boast that I know Naomi Nkealah who is writing a thesis at Wits in African Lit and is the tireless administrator of the English Academy Review and constant presence in the SLLS postgrad students committee - she's always willing and pleasant to deal with.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    February 5th, 2009 @11:10 #
     
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    Not only am I thrilled for Alex, and other bloggers on this list (it's a sign, Alex, don't go to Russia), but I was esp pleased to see Nadia Davids's name up there. So gifted, and the loveliest person.

    Louis, like you, I submitted a story, but for me, first prize was finishing the damn thing. Years of freelancing mean I only ever finish something if there's a deadline. Looking at my story after I submitted it, I winced, it still needs so much work, but hooray, thanks to this, I have something to work on.

    Oh, and another little bookish detail to inspire. Colleen kindly lent me the Collected Short Stories of Carol Shields, one of my favourite writers. And in it I found that long before she wrote her award-winning and celebrated novel, Unless (one of my most passionately loved books), she had written a short story that was the kernel for Unless. So mango trees do grow from seeds...

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  • <a href="http://www.moxyland.com" rel="nofollow">Lauren Beukes</a>
    Lauren Beukes
    February 5th, 2009 @11:20 #
     
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    Congrats to everyone and also Natasha Moodley, who I was briefly supervising in UCT's MA programme before I got swamped with my own stuff (baby, day job, Moxyland). She's a rising talent to watch.

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    February 5th, 2009 @11:23 #
     
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    Whoot! Cash Monay.

    Divided loyalties.

    What say the bookies?

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    February 5th, 2009 @13:17 #
     
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    Congratulations, blogger shortlistees! And commiserations to those who didn't make the cut! I didn't even know the damn thing was on, but I did recently send off a query about PEN membership.

    (Wow, that's just so weird, Richard! What a coincidence! It has 'award-winning short story' written all over it.)

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  • <a href="http://alexsmith.book.co.za/" rel="nofollow">Alex Smith</a>
    Alex Smith
    February 5th, 2009 @13:31 #
     
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    Excellent to hear you've done that Louis. Even though it sort of hurts (mmm, I find it hurts me quite a bit and happens far too often, but then I’m extremely over emotional), not getting on one list usually turns out to be the best thing that ever happens to a story because then it has to become better to survive – I’m sure your reworked stories going to be brilliant and next thing we know, they’ll be in Granta. I can just see your stories in Granta, Louis, there is a kind of air of Granta about what you do.

    Thanks all for the encouraging comments, especially Louis, Colleen and Helen. I’m really happy to have a story in this anthology, I think it’s going to be a splendid book of stories from all about Africa—there are so many remarkable storytellers around the continent with extraordinary and also shocking tales to tell. I’m looking forward to reading them all immensely, also in particular the BookSA bloggers' stories, well done! and yours Jeanne!!! Wonderful.).

    Whatever happens with prizes is so much in another kind of realm, it doesn’t bear contemplating, (although Rustum, if I did have money to bet, and was a better, I’d have to play it safe and put it on Ceridwen first and in second place, the story with the word ‘kiss’ in the title because I’m a kiss-fancier. There’s not much to go on betting wise, though with just titles...)

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  • Maire
    Maire
    February 5th, 2009 @17:05 #
     
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    What about divided royalties? Paid to loyal fans? Brava, brava, brava, brava, brava BOOK SA bloggers!

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  • <a href="http://bwnamibia.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">nabukenya</a>
    nabukenya
    February 5th, 2009 @20:11 #
     
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    wow I love Ceridwen's posts, they make me want to buy her books! well done to all the others, I think just entering is hectic because I am definitely a baby when it comes to writing. Maire thanks for the post, this is awesome to read.

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  • <a href="http://henriettaroseinnes.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Henrietta</a>
    Henrietta
    February 5th, 2009 @21:13 #
     
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    Congratulations to everyone! And well done PEN, looks like the organisers did a smashing job this year. 827 entries!! Far out.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    February 5th, 2009 @22:03 #
     
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    Far out? Groovy, baby! And now I'm wracking my brain for more kiff shouts from way back.

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  • <a href="http://alexsmith.book.co.za/" rel="nofollow">Alex Smith</a>
    Alex Smith
    February 5th, 2009 @22:25 #
     
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    Not kiff, Richard, please not kiff!!! stop, stop ... Helen, help, where's the step?

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    February 5th, 2009 @22:49 #
     
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    Fully, Alex! I can dig where you're at!

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  • <a href="http://bwnamibia.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">nabukenya</a>
    nabukenya
    February 5th, 2009 @23:01 #
     
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    Alex - more fire to my elbow dude. have a rad evening man.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    February 5th, 2009 @23:26 #
     
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    @ Camel, it's Fiona who has the step, not me. Hey shoo wow man, this is awesome.

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    February 6th, 2009 @08:45 #
     
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    It's lank kiff.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    February 6th, 2009 @09:18 #
     
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    Schweet like a lemon, china

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    February 6th, 2009 @09:31 #
     
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    Chillax bru, we're hundreds.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    February 6th, 2009 @09:35 #
     
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    Humungously bodacious, bru.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    February 6th, 2009 @09:43 #
     
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    Ben and Nabukenya, you are young, young, young, my friends! We are reaching wayyy back into the distant past now when the two of you were mere tadpoles.

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna get DOWN this weekend. Catch ya on the flipside, ya spazzes. Wicked!

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    February 6th, 2009 @10:10 #
     
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    I'm going to party like it's on sale for nine rand ninety-nine

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    February 6th, 2009 @10:13 #
     
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    ROFL at Ben- and Nabu-tadpoles...

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    February 6th, 2009 @10:36 #
     
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    Laughing like it's going out of fashion, Louis.

    You need to give it the old "naan raunt naanty-naan" for full effect!

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  • <a href="http://sarahlotz.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sarah Lotz</a>
    Sarah Lotz
    February 6th, 2009 @10:59 #
     
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    Way too late to the party as usual - but congrats all you finalists and brilliant bloggers, totally awesome.

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  • <a href="http://www.modjajibooks.co.za" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    Colleen
    February 6th, 2009 @15:46 #
     
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    fully brus, [long pause] fully

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    February 6th, 2009 @17:18 #
     
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    That pause, Colleen...it brings back the days I shared a house with a kombi of surfers. (Note my collective noun for surfers: clever, no?)

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