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2009 Sunday Times Fiction Prize Shortlist

Tracey FarrenDamon GalgutMichiel HeynsAnne LandsmanMandla Langa

WhiplashThe ImpostorBodies PoliticThe Rowing Lesson

Alert! The 2009 Sunday Times Fiction Prize shorlist has been announced. Three of the five authors who made the cut are BOOK SA members: Tracey Farren, Anne Landsman and Mandla Langa. The prize is worth R75 000 and is awarded jointly with the Alan Paton Award for non-fiction (shortlist here). The judges are Victor Dlamini (chair), Chris Thurman, Henrietta Rose-Innes, Pitika Ntuli and Lebo Mashile (more information on the judges). Ceridwen Dovey won last year’s prize, for Blood Kin; this year’s winner will be announced in early August. Among the shortlistees, Michiel Heyns is a former co-winner of the prize (in 2007, for his translation of Marlene van Niekerk’s Agaat). Two of the shortlistees have already won major prizes this year for their books: Galgut the R60 000 University of Johannesburg Prize and Langa the £1 000 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book – Africa Region. The Fiction Prize’s longlist is here; without further ado, the shortlist:

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Recent comments:

  • <a href="http://www.modjajibooks.co.za" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    Colleen
    June 3rd, 2009 @19:20 #
     
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    I am so utterly thrilled. Fabulous. Wonderful. Well done Tracey, Tess, Maire - for editing. Who would have thought....

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    June 3rd, 2009 @21:00 #
     
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    Cooooooool! Well done, Tracey! Would have been great to see more threadmates up there, but this is fabulous. It's wonderful to see all your hard work rewarded like this, Colleen.

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  • <a href="http://www.modjajibooks.co.za" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    Colleen
    June 3rd, 2009 @21:13 #
     
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    Thanks Richard. I would also have loved to have seen Sindiwe and Lauren up there. But I have to say I am so so pleased, can't hardly breathe and I loved Whiplash from the first pages when I read it back in 2007 and knew I had to give up my day job to publish Whiplash and I believe it deserves to get out to many, many more readers.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    June 3rd, 2009 @21:39 #
     
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    omigoddess omigoddess -- Whiplash made the short list!!! How faint-makingly wonderful, congratulations Tracey, Colleen... In fact, a thoroughly deserving line-up, but oh, I really really REALLY wanted/expected to see Lauren and Sindiwe and Tom up there too... But my mixed feelings don't detract from the joy that a book as marginalised as Whiplash should garner this kind of recognition. Huzza!

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  • Maire
    Maire
    June 4th, 2009 @01:52 #
     
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    Richly, richly richly deserved - I too am over the moon about Tracey and Whiplash and Modjaji ... can't help but be biased - but how fabulous that the selection for both long and short lists shows what a depth of field there is in SA literature!

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  • <a href="http://alexsmith.book.co.za/" rel="nofollow">Alex Smith</a>
    Alex Smith
    June 4th, 2009 @07:40 #
     
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    How exciting, Colleen, Tracey, and Ron - great congratulations. Hopefully there is plenty of stock of all those titles and the Alan Paton ones in the bookshops ... it would seem obvious to have good stock, but somehow because the books are beyond their three month shelf-life, great selling opportunities like this seem to pass by ... I suppose the logistics of supply means that full advantage of the grand (priceless) media coverage is not taken. It always surprises me that between the publishers and the bookshops there isn't more collaboration over these awards - perhaps this year will be different. Colleen, have we got plenty of copies of Whiplash at EB Constantia? I'm not so sure. Last year we only got two copies of Blood Kin into stock about a month after the awards, which doesn't help with selling.

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  • <a href="http://www.modjajibooks.co.za" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    Colleen
    June 4th, 2009 @08:33 #
     
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    Thanks for this useful advice Alex. I am on it, please won't you ask whoever does the ordering at EB to consider ordering more stock. There is stock of Whiplash at the distributor. The thing is one doesn't want to pre-empt an announcement like this, what if one did it in vain. It is brilliant news and I think that for Whiplash it means it will get considered more seriously for translation. Currently the Norwegians and the Spanish are looking at it. I think some of the people who were interested, but hesitated might re-consider.

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  • <a href="http://gregoryfried.bookslive.co.za/" rel="nofollow">Greg</a>
    Greg
    June 4th, 2009 @10:20 #
     
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    Great congratulations, Colleen! I hope this will bring real voomah to sales of Whiplash.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    June 4th, 2009 @10:30 #
     
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    Yes! There is justice in this world. Congratulations Tracey, Colleen, Maire and Ron.

    Colleen, how about getting a rush-order of "Shortlisted for the Sunday Times Fiction Prize" stickers printed and sticking them on all the copies you can find in local book stores? Buyers notice stuff like that.

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  • <a href="http://alexsmith.book.co.za/" rel="nofollow">Alex Smith</a>
    Alex Smith
    June 4th, 2009 @11:13 #
     
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    Mmmm, no pre-empting in it, this is about something else: in the great mass of books buyers must choose from, a recent short-listing is a selling point (almost as strong as winning, I would hazard, since many bookclubs take up to ten books a month, so one winner isn't enough). Every day in every EB store (and the other stores too I guess) at least one bookclub (or other buyer) who could and would buy that book comes in (but fails to see it), and if the booksellers have a new awareness of the book, and a selling point with which to promote it, well, the book will be sold. Bookclubs are desperate for recommendations. Stickers is a fine idea, because it alerts the booksellers, who struggle to keep up with the tide of ever new books, and also, when those bookclubbers who take books out on apro are deciding among themselves what finally to select and buy, a sticker of official approval, would I’m willing to bet, give them some sense of security about their selection of the book in question. The sticker must be smart.

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  • <a href="http://alexsmith.book.co.za/" rel="nofollow">Alex Smith</a>
    Alex Smith
    June 4th, 2009 @11:18 #
     
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    Timeous and smart. Too late is no good.

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  • <a href="http://sarahlotz.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sarah Lotz</a>
    Sarah Lotz
    June 4th, 2009 @11:42 #
     
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    Congratulations, Colleen and Tracey, you must be walking on air! And to the other finalists as well. I hope this will increase sales for you.

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  • <a href="http://www.modjajibooks.co.za" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    Colleen
    June 4th, 2009 @12:22 #
     
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    Thanks Sarah, Fiona, Greg, Alex, Maire, Helen and Richard.
    I've ordered some stickers, got the ST logo from Tymon. Thanks Fiona and Alex for making the suggestion. Will do my best to get stickers onto books asap. So much to do.... But I am thrilled.

    And of course will have stickered books for the Book Fair.

    BTW - I got a call from the Sunday Times on Monday to ask why a Modjaji rep hadn't RSVPed Yes to the Short List announcement. I nearly had a stroke on the spot. I had to take Beta Blockers on Monday - and then lay down for several hours in the afternoon. I guess somewhere I knew that Whiplash was going to be short-listed.

    Arja Salafranca, who loved Whiplash - see her review, and who was the first person to respond to Modjaji's call for subscribers, friends, and matrons (she immediately became a matron) went to the Sunday times function in Joburg last night and represented Modjaji. Neither Tracey nor I could make the function at such short notice and budgets are limited for this sort of soiree. So thanks to Arja for calling me from the cocktail party as soon as she knew. I was busy putting my daughter to bed. My shrieking with joy set her jumping on the bed and it took until an hour later or so to settle her down and off to sleep.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    June 4th, 2009 @12:27 #
     
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    Shh, Colleen, you now need the world to believe you live in a large mansion overlooking the beach, with dozens of personal assistants running around, rsvpeeing, budgeting, stickering, representing and putting children to bed.

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  • <a href="http://www.modjajibooks.co.za" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    Colleen
    June 4th, 2009 @17:08 #
     
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    @Richard - ain't gonna do that - because it's not true and the truth is much more fabulously crazy.

    http://www.kalkbaybooks.co.za/books-detail.php?id=1038 Kalk Bay Books have got the books on display and are using Whiplash as their book to click onto the other short-listees - how fab is that?

    Just got back from running around posting poetry books, delivering poetry books, and so on. Fetched my daughter from school in the pouring rain, sat in the traffic on the way back from the Book Lounge, bought a bottle of bubbly to drink later - after making supper with my friend. My husband is in France, painting, cleaning, sanding, gardening and tidying up the house that he and his sister inherited when their Mom died 3 years ago. They tried selling it to friends etc but it hasn't worked and please Goddess it sells this summer (European). He left on Monday night via Amsterdam to Toulouse. Not sure why I am writing all this. Feeling manic and writing calms me down, slightly. So proud of Tracey and Tess.

    Had to choose 100 words for the Sunday Times with Tracey for their special feaature on the short-listees this Sunday. Had to authorise 10 free copies of Whiplash for a giveaway by the Sunday Times. It's endless and it's wonderful and I am still thrilled.

    Bought 3 books to celebrate - Trinity Rising, The Book of Jacob and John Pape/Kilgore's novel. Yikes.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    June 4th, 2009 @18:53 #
     
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    Dear Colleen! Be completely manic, you completely deserve it. I am so rooting for Tess and Tracey, thinking of your faith in both, how all the other publishers turned Whiplash down... read, drink bubbles, play mad games with Kate. I now have a vile cold, have spent day in bed, Karina's theory is that everything pent up in me in coming out now that Strange Fruit is officially born. Either that, or I was so manic for two days that the bugs came to join the party...

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  • <a href="http://traceyfarren.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Tracey F</a>
    Tracey F
    June 4th, 2009 @21:08 #
     
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    Thank you Richard, Fiona, Helen and Sarah,
    This is a wonderful, strange turn of events. The book critics loved Whiplash, but the book industry has often been reluctant to be associated with a seedy female character. It is so divine that someone let themselves fall in love and risk the embarrassment. Colleen, Maire, Ron and I have done an excellent job of brazening it out, even if I may say so myself. I do hope that Sandton City Exclusive Books concedes to stocking Whiplash now! Thanks for the support, it really has helped to fuel our fighting spirit.

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    June 4th, 2009 @21:25 #
     
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    I hope those responsible for the decision not to stock Whiplash (jeez, what hypocrisy, considering the moral vacuity of half the titles loading their shelves) are now appreciating the sensation of eggy custard pie running down their faces...

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  • <a href="http://www.moxyland.com" rel="nofollow">Lauren Beukes</a>
    Lauren Beukes
    June 5th, 2009 @12:04 #
     
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    It's such great news about Whiplash and I was thinking about those squeamish (nearly wrote squirmish) booksellers who didn't want to take it. Bet they feel pretty darn silly now.

    So, have we opened the betting yet? Please guys, I don't want to see a re-hash of last year where I astutely predicted the winner (Blood Kin) based on my literary cunning and insight and you guys just piled on and ruined the odds.

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  • <a href="http://sarahlotz.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sarah Lotz</a>
    Sarah Lotz
    June 5th, 2009 @12:12 #
     
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    And there is cause for another celebration today as it's Ms Beukes's birthday.
    Hurrah! Apparently she's only 33 which is totally unfair seeing as she's already pubished two books, written thousands of award winnng articles, created at least one ground-breaking animated series, can pole dance, sky-dive and make up nursery rhymes at 3am and Charles Stross thinks she rocks.
    So I shall be celebrating Lauren's REAL publishing age, which is 67.
    Happy birthday! xx

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    June 5th, 2009 @12:29 #
     
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    Don't want to put a damper on things, but Jesus had achieved quite a lot more at 33. He lacked pole-dancing skills, but his sky-diving was, according to several sources, "out of this world".

    Congratulations, Moxy Minx!

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  • <a href="http://sarahlotz.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sarah Lotz</a>
    Sarah Lotz
    June 5th, 2009 @12:59 #
     
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    Yes, but JC is an imaginary friend, while Lauren is a real one. And she is most adept at turning water into wine (or the other way around).

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    June 5th, 2009 @13:10 #
     
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    Hey Lauren - happy birthday!

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    June 5th, 2009 @14:18 #
     
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    Dear Lauren, I am tempted to ring you up and sing to you. Have a happy happy day, the duck weather notwithstanding...

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  • <a href="http://www.modjajibooks.co.za" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    Colleen
    June 5th, 2009 @15:12 #
     
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    Said Happy Birthday under another post, but will say it again here. Happy birthday Lauren! Thanks for your affirmation about Whiplash, Lauren. Sure you are having a fabulous birthday...

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  • <a href="http://www.moxyland.com" rel="nofollow">Lauren Beukes</a>
    Lauren Beukes
    June 5th, 2009 @16:14 #
     
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    Thanks guys. I feel all warm and fuzzy. Or maybe that's from dipping my hand into Moxy Pinata's brain hole to steal warm candy insides from the pit of his belly.

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