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Tymon Smith on the 2010 Alan Paton Award for Non-fiction (Plus: Audio)

Earlier today we revealed, courtesy the Sunday Times, some of the mystery behind the Sunday Times Fiction Prize shortlist. So what’s the story behind the 2010 Alan Paton Award shortlist? Sunday Times books editor Tymon Smith provides crib notes:

Ways of StayingA Fork in the RoadBegging to be BlackThe Honour to ServeThe Strange Alchemy of Life and Law

It’s never an easy process to choose a shortlist for a literary award. Like asking a parent to pick their favourite child, the decision of which titles to shortlist for this year’s Alan Paton Award for Non-Fiction was a difficult one for the judging panel.

This difficulty is reflected in the panel’s commendation of three titles, which they were moved and impressed by, but which they felt did not meet all the criteria for shortlist selection. Clive Chipkin’s book on the architecture of Johannesburg impressed the judges with its erudition, research and passion for a subject, which the author has made his own. Alf Kumalo’s beautiful photographs told the moving and humorous story of his amazing journey from Alexandra in the ’50s to the US and beyond. Leonie Joubert presented a compelling and important look at the environmental challenges facing the country, which the judges commended as much for its impressive presentation as for its message and quality of writing.

Times Live’s Boitumelo Tlhoaele spoke to some of the shortlisted authors

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