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Elisabeth Eybers Poetry Prize to be Awarded for the First Time in 2014

 
Valreep / Stirrup-CupA new prize has been added to the annual Media24 Books Literary Awards, which recognise work from publishers that fall under the domain of Media24, including NB Publishers and Jonathan Ball. The Elisabeth Eybers Poetry Prize will focus on Afrikaans and English poetry collections, with the winner receiving R35 000 in prize money.

The prize honours Eybers, who during her lifetime won numerous awards for her poetry in South Africa and the Netherlands.

Previously, poetry collections had to compete with prose and dramas for the Media24 Books’ WA Hofmeyr Prize. This year, two poetry collections, Om die gedagte van geel by Petra Müller and Vaarwel my effens bevlekte held by Johann de Lange, were shortlisted for the WA Hofmeyr Prize but it was won by Ingrid Winterbach for her novel Die aanspraak van lewende wesens. In 2014 there will now be a “new prize for a genre that receives relatively little acknowledgement in terms of literary awards,” as Media24 Books CEO Eloise Wessels explains in the following press release:

Press release

In 2014, Media24 Books will award the first annual Elisabeth Eybers prize for poetry in Afrikaans and English. In the past, poetry had to compete with short story collections and dramas for Media24 Books’ WA Hofmeyr prize for fiction. The prize money for the poetry award amounts to R35 000.

With this prize, Media24 Books aims to promote excellence and innovation, and to acknowledge poets who extend the boundaries of poetry through their work. Only original work (no translations) will be considered and the judges will look for excellent writing and fresh poetry.

The multi-award winning Eybers (1915-2007) was one of South Africa’s most important poets. On her eightieth birthday in 1995, the literary scholar J.C. Kannemeyer referred to her as “the greatest living poet in the Afrikaans language”. From 1958, all her collections were concurrently published in South Africa and the Netherlands, where she won numerous significant literary awards. Eybers increasingly wrote her poems in English too, and her last four collections included poems in English and Afrikaans. From her debut in 1936, she published 22 collections of which Valreep (2005) was her last.

“Media24 Books is proud to announce this new prize for a genre that receives relatively little acknowledgement in terms of literary awards,” says Media24 Books CEO Eloise Wessels.

Entries for the 2014 Media24 Boeke Literary Awards close on Friday 6 December 2013. All poetry collections published by the Media24 Boeke Group between 1 January 2013 and 1 December 2013 will be considered for the Elisabeth Eybers prize. A shortlist will be made public in April next year, and the winners will be announced in June 2014.

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