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SA Lit Rules the 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Shortlists

The ImpostorMy Life with the DuvalsThe Lost Colours of the ChameleonBeauty's GiftThe One that Got Away

Damon GalgutTim KeeganMandla LangaSindiwe MagonaZoe Wicomb

Jane BennetJassy MackenzieChris MarnewickSue RabieMegan Voysey-Braig, 2008 EU Literary Award Winner

Say You‘re One of ThemPorcupineRandom ViolenceShepherds and ButchersBoston SnowploughTill We Can Keep an Animal

Alert! All five of the shortlisted books for the 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize: Best Book – Africa Region are by South Africans – as are five of the six shortlisted works for the Best First Book – Africa Region prize. Both prizes are worth £1 000; the winners go on to compete with other regional winners for the overall Best Book and Best First Book prizes, worth £10 000 and £5 000 respectively.

Uwem AkpanNigerian Uwem Akpan (pictured at left) prevented a clean sweep for South Africa with his first novel, Say You‘re One of Them. Among BOOK SA account holders, Mandla Langa, Jassy Mackenzie and Megan Voysey-Braig got the green light The judging panel for the Africa region was chaired by SA’s Elinor Sisulu. She was joined by judges Kole Omotoso (Nigeria) and Billy Karanja Kahora (Kenya).

Upon delivering the shortlist, Sisulu commented on the “SA vs rest of Africa” issue: “Once again Africa’s publishing powerhouses, South Africa and Nigeria dominated the entries. Of over fifty entries received, only two were from Kenya and two from Ghana. There was an unusually high number of short story collections among the entries,” she said.

Among the publishers, Umuzi comes up trumps, with four works among the eleven; Kwela, of the NB group, has two (and NB overall has three, with Human & Rousseau also scoring a shortlistee); and Jacana, Penguin and Pan Macmillan make up the rest. Here are the complete Africa Region shortlists:

2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best Book – Africa Region shortlist

2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best First Book – Africa Region shortlist

The winners of the regional competitions will be announced on 11 March 2009; and the two overall winners, chosen by an international panel of six judges coming together in New Zealand, will be announced at an Awards Ceremony on 16 May at the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival (AWRF), which will also feature many of the shortlistees.

The complete of 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize shortlists, for all regions, plus judges’ statements, can be found here:

Good luck to the writers!

Photo of Uwem Akpan courtesy wnyc. We don’t have a photo of Sue Rabie – please write to us if you do!

 

Recent comments:

  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    February 18th, 2009 @12:36 #
     
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    Whoohoo! Go Jassy!!

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  • <a href="http://www.jassymackenzie.com" rel="nofollow">Jassy</a>
    Jassy
    February 18th, 2009 @12:47 #
     
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    Thanks, Louis! It's so exciting and I really can't believe it - it's like Christmas and my birthday all rolled into one - but I'm sure you know exactly how I'm feeling because you were shortlisted in 2007 :-) I'm thrilled that Umuzi has four writers shortlisted and equally thrilled that South Africa has dominated the lists this time around!

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    February 18th, 2009 @12:56 #
     
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    Just being shortlisted is a HUGE kudo (almost as big as a kudu) and looks very good on your CV. Enjoy!

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    February 18th, 2009 @13:13 #
     
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    BookSA represent! Congratulations Jassy and all the best forward.

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  • <a href="http://karinamagdalenaszczurek.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Karina</a>
    Karina
    February 18th, 2009 @13:19 #
     
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    Wonderful list - congratulations everyone!

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  • <a href="http://www.moxyland.com" rel="nofollow">Lauren Beukes</a>
    Lauren Beukes
    February 18th, 2009 @13:58 #
     
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    Good work all round!

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    February 18th, 2009 @14:17 #
     
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    Good luck, all!

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    February 18th, 2009 @14:39 #
     
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    Great stuff Jassy, Mandla and Megan! Good luck to all of you.

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  • <a href="http://www.modjajibooks.co.za" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    Colleen
    February 18th, 2009 @14:46 #
     
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    Congratulations everyone!

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  • <a href="http://wgt.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Ndaba</a>
    Ndaba
    February 18th, 2009 @15:01 #
     
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    Congrats-too, from a Non-South African!

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  • <a href="http://shereenpandit.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Shereen</a>
    Shereen
    February 18th, 2009 @15:31 #
     
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    Wow! Times Five.

    Must get the books!!

    Fantastic, you guys.

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  • <a href="http://www.joannehichens.co.za" rel="nofollow">Joanne</a>
    Joanne
    February 18th, 2009 @15:48 #
     
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    Congratulations to all! Great to see two crime-thriller novels there - well done Jassy Mackenzie and Sue Rabie.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    February 18th, 2009 @16:04 #
     
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    I'm so thrilled, I'm dancing on the spot. I congratulate you all (and Elinor and her co-judges for doing a great job). Forgive me if I cross my fingers for Sindiwe, an honorary Book SA blogger (she'll join us as soon as she graduates from a dial-up modem), and Jane Bennett (to think that the latter couldn't find a publisher for years!) Hurray hurray.

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    February 18th, 2009 @16:12 #
     
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    I'm not really addicted to gambling but, has anyone seen the bookie?

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    February 18th, 2009 @16:22 #
     
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    Trying to rustle up some odds, any odds, but the big betting houses aren't interested.

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  • <a href="http://alexsmith.book.co.za/" rel="nofollow">Alex Smith</a>
    Alex Smith
    February 18th, 2009 @17:54 #
     
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    Brilliant stuff South African writers and publishers--well done Umuzi; very hearty congratulations to everyone on this auspicious list.

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  • Maire
    Maire
    February 18th, 2009 @18:04 #
     
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    Bravo/a/o everyone!

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  • <a href="http://sarahlotz.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sarah Lotz</a>
    Sarah Lotz
    February 18th, 2009 @19:08 #
     
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    Congratulations everyone - great to see the Krimi element in there as well!

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  • <a href="http://siphiwomahala.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Siphiwo</a>
    Siphiwo
    February 18th, 2009 @22:46 #
     
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    Congratulations all round. The SA flag is flying high.

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