Alert! Pumla Dineo Gqola and Nkosinathi Sithole have been announced as the winners of the prestigious Sunday Times Literary Awards.
The winners were announced at a black tie event in Sandton. Apart from receiving the prestigious Sunday Times Literary Awards accolade, each author is also awarded prize money of R100,000.
Debut novelist Nkosinathi Sithole was awarded the Barry Ronge Fiction Prize for his book Hunger Eats a Man, published by Penguin Books.
Pumla Dineo Gqola received the Alan Paton Award for her book Rape: A South African Nightmare, published by MF Books.
Advocate Thuli Madonsela was the guest speaker at the event.
The Barry Ronge Fiction Prize was judged this year by Rustum Kozain (chair), Angela Makholwa-Moabelo and Stephen Johnson.
Of Hunger Eats a Man, Kozain says, “This is something entirely new in South African literature, in terms of its language and style. The writing is exceptional in the way it bends English to its own purpose. It’s a beautiful, disturbing, highly original novel with touches of unexpected humour.”
The story is set in KwaZulu-Natal and highlights the plight of rural South Africans. Sithole has a PhD in English Studies and teaches at the University of Zululand.
The Alan Paton Award judging panel was chaired by Achmat Dangor, supported by judges Tinyiko Maluleke and Pippa Green.
In Rape: A South African Nightmare, Gqola investigates the history and causes of the epidemic of sexual violence in the country. “This is a fearless book that speaks a powerful truth of our times. Nuanced and cogently argued, it tackles the subject from every possible aspect in an attempt to deal with the unspoken,” Dangor says.
Gqola is a professor of African Literature at Wits University.
Sunday Times books editor Jennifer Platt says: “The Sunday Times Literary Awards have always acted as a sort barometer of the nation’s preoccupations, highlighting books that pick up and explore our concerns.
“There is an urgency reflected in the themes of the winning books this year: of poverty, hunger and the vapid promises of politicians and religion in one, and in the other the overt threat of toxic masculinity that pervades South Africa.”
Last year’s winners were Jacob Dlamini and Damon Galgut.
More about the books:
- Hunger Eats a Man by Nkosinathi Sithole
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