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2010 Sunday Times Fiction Prize and Alan Paton Award Shortlists

Barry Ronge, Tymon Smith & Aher Ahop Bol

Alert! The shortlists for the 2010 Sunday Times Fiction Prize and the 2010 Alan Paton Award have just been announced. Of the shortlistees, four are BOOK SA members: Imraan Coovadia, Kgebetli Moele, Kevin Bloom and André Brink. The judges for this year’s Fiction Prize are Diane Awerbuck, Victor Dlamini, Lebo Mashile and Chris Thurman. The judges for this year’s Alan Paton Award are Ari Sitas, Maureen Isaacson, Heidi Holland, Thengani Ngwenya and Joe Matthews. Both prizes are valued at R75 000.

BOOK SA’s Emily Amos was at the event:

Shortlist BannersTymon SmithAmidst the football fanfare and soccer-mad seven-days-to-go to that World Cup, the announcement of the short lists for the Sunday Times Literary Awards was a pleasant moment of book-loving sanity. Held once again at the oh-so-gorgeous Shepstone Gardens in Mountain View, the room sparkled in chic black and white. Books editor of the Sunday Times, Tymon Smith was of course on hand, ready to share his wry wit before the big announcement. He was joined by Ray Hartley, the new editor of the Sunday Times, in making several publishers and authors very happy people tonight.

Tension was palpable but hung lightly in the air as guests gathered before the event. On stage were the black-draped banners – the short listers’ names so near under a mere few millimetres of cloth and yet so far – waiting for unveiling after the speeches. Book-loving media people were wonderfully present from Radio 702’s Jenny Cryws-Williams to award judge, Maureen Isaacson and Sarie books editor, Phyllis Green. Victor Dlamini moved among guests taking photos and chatting with his contemporaries.

Barry Ronge began the proceedings by welcoming everyone to the event and paying tribute to the judges of the both the Alan Paton Award and the Fiction Prize. He introduced Tymon Smith as a “personality that has brought a great deal of impish wit to the [award] event and the pages of the Sunday Times.” Smooth and collected Smith took the stage as the audience held their breath – no disappointment this year; he met all speech expectations again. Provoking the audience into laughter with the announcement that he had taken time out from writing a “very important book” about his relationship with his late grandfather, titled Bastards, Bloody Agents – Don’t Touch Me on My Studio in order to attend the event. Apologising for his lack of soccer gear, he blamed his soccer shirtlessness on his local mall on where “a big man was buying them all for Winnie Mandela”. He then moved on to articulate how books make it onto the short list.

Continuing the tradition of making fun of his family in his awards speech, this year it was his father’s turn. Saying his father is an “auto-didact who likes to read many books at the same time,” he said he gave the long list books to his father to read which “interrupted his 25-year ambition of reading the entire set of 1938 Encyclopaedia Britannicas.” Smith quipped that his father chose to read the awards books aloud and promptly “chose the ones that annoyed my mother the most” for the short lists! Smith acknowledged “a little help from the judges” saying that “they always put on a good show of being important and powerful.”

Switching to a serious note he did sincerely thank the judges for their hard work, albeit while dismissing any and all supposed complaints about the large number of books that needed to be read! Finally Ray Hartley joined Smith on stage for the announcements – Kim Taylor had the envious task of bouncing back to the stage again and again to receive the magic short list envelope.

This year’s short list announcement included three honorary mentions which went to Johannesburg Transition: Architecture and Society from 1950 by Clive Chipkin; Invaded: The Biological Invasion of South Africa by Leonie Joubert, and Alf Kumalo: Through My Lens by Alf Kumalo.

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Sunday Times Fiction Prize Shortlist

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Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Margie</a>
    June 3rd, 2010 @22:10 #

    This is good. At last a part of South AFrica that is crime free! Well done to all. ~ I just wish you could all win. It would be fairer and nicer.


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