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Edyth Bulbring Wins Percy FitzPatrick Prize (Plus: All the English Academy Award Winners)

Melly, Fatty and MeAlert! Edyth Bulbring’s Melly, Fatty & Me has been named the winner of the 2012 Percy FitzPatrick Prize for Youth Literature, presented by the English Academy of Southern Africa.

The Academy also announced the winners of its other annual prizes, with Mary Corrigall receiving the 2012 Thomas Pringle Award for her reviews published in the Sunday Independent during 2011, while Mothobi Mutloatse was honoured with the English Academy Gold Medal 2012 for “outstanding service to the English language”. Mutloatse established Skotaville Publishers in 1982, which published Desmond Tutu’s Hope and Suffering and later expanded into Mutloatse Arts Heritage Trust. He is also the author of a novella and a playwright.

The winners will receive between R5 000 and R10 000 each. Andy Petersen is one of the previous winners of the Percy FitzPatrick prize and last year Kelwyn Sole won the Thomas Pringle Award for Poetry.

Press release

The English Academy of Southern Africa is concerned with improving and promoting all forms and functions of English in our linguistically diverse region. It is especially concerned with advancing English in education. The Academy promotes research and debate, organizes lectures, makes presentations about language matters and fosters the creative and scholarly talents of users of English in the Southern African region by presenting a number of prestigious awards annually. The English Academy has been involved in this work since it was founded in 1961 and continues to do this work through generous donations and the service of its actively involved membership.

In April 2013, the English Academy is pleased to honour the winners of three different awards made in 2012: The Thomas Pringle Award for Reviews; The Percy Fitzpatrick Prize for Youth Literature and the coveted, English Academy Gold Medal for outstanding service to the English language.

The Percy FitzPatrick Prize: Youth Literature 2012 (for books published in 2010 – 2011) has been awarded to Edyth Bulbring for her richly entertaining book Melly, Fatty and Me published by Penguin Books. The book allows the reader to become a ‘privileged observer’ in the life of the central character, April-May, as it weaves an amusing and refreshing form of storytelling through the deliciously over-the-top quality of the narration. The panel were unanimous in making this award. Some schools in South Africa are already using this as a set book and a UK based publishing house has already bought the rights to the book. The English Academy would like to recognize Edyth Bulbring as the winner of the Percy FitzPatrick Prize for Youth Literature.

The Thomas Pringle Award 2012 for Reviews has been awarded to Mary Corrigall for her reviews published in the Sunday Independent during 2011. Ms Corrigall is an award-winning journalist, whose talents have been recognized by CNN and the European Commission. She is also the founder and head of the South African Arts Writers and Critics Association. It is therefore not surprising that she is once again the recipient of an award that acknowledges her considerable talent as a reviewer. In reading Corrigall’s reviews, one is struck by one outstanding quality – her acuity. Whether she is reading words on a page or looking at shapes and colours at an art or photography exhibition, Corrigall has a particularly rare capacity to see things sharply and keenly. The English Academy is glad to award the Thomas Pringle Award for Reviews to Mary Corrigal for the exceptional quality that she brings to her work.

The English Academy Gold Medal 2012 is awarded to Mothobi Mutloatse. Mr Mutloatse established Skotaville Publishers in 1982. It was the first publishing house in South Africa to focus on literary and scholarly works by and about black people during the time when apartheid was at its most severe. The first book that Skotaville published was Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s first book, Hope and Suffering. Mutloatse edited it and wrote the foreword. It became an instant bestseller and was soon translated into six languages, namely Dutch, Spanish, Norwegian, Swedish, German and Japanese.

In 1996 Skotaville Publishers expanded into Mutloatse Arts Heritage Trust, broadening the scope of the publishing house to make it a vehicle through which Mr Mutloatse continues his publishing activities as well as several other interests in the development and growth of the arts.

Mothobi Mutloatsi is also a creative writer. He authored a novella, Mama Ndiyalila, about the 1976 Soweto student uprising, and has written and produced plays: Lakutshon’ ilanga, about life on Robben Island, and Nkosi! The Healing Song, a dramatisation of Enoch Sontonga’s prayer for Africa. Kippie Morolong Moeketsi, the saxophonist and author, and Drum writer Bloke Modisane are the subjects of other dramas.

In 2011 the University of South Africa bestowed on Mothobi Mutloatsi the honorary degreee of D Litt et Phil ‘for his outstanding contribution through Skotaville Publishers, which he founded and which provided a publishing avenue for aspirant writers and academics during the time of government literary censorship’.

The English Academy is especially pleased to recognize the tireless work of Mothobi Mutloatse in giving a voice to the voiceless and making English available to all who wish to use it. His work echoes the vision of the English Academy of Southern Africa.

If you would like to become a member of the English Academy of Southern Africa, please visit our website: or email us on


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Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Sally</a>
    May 30th, 2013 @12:20 #

    Well done, Edyth!

  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    May 30th, 2013 @12:59 #


  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    May 30th, 2013 @13:25 #

    Nice one, Edyth, and all the winners.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Crystal Warren</a>
    Crystal Warren
    May 30th, 2013 @16:03 #

    Congratulations Edyth! One small correction to this post - Stephen Watson won the Thomas Pringle, not the Percy FitzPatrick prize.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Carolyn</a>
    May 30th, 2013 @16:27 #

    Thanks Crystal, you're absolutely right! I've corrected that.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    May 31st, 2013 @00:34 #

    What? Oh this is fabulous news at the end of a truly sucky day. Yay Edyth -- so well-deserved. LOVE yr cross-generation writing.


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