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Winners of the 2016 Short Sharp Stories Awards announced!

Adults OnlyBloody SatisfiedIncredible Journey

Alert! Tattoo Press and Burnet Media are proud to announce the winners of the 2016 Short Sharp Stories Awards for Die Laughing – “stories of wit, satire and humour”.

The winning tales were revealed on Wednesday morning at the National Arts Festival and were selected from a shortlist of 20 stories, announced earlier this year.

Here are the winners of the 2016 Short Sharp Stories Awards:



This Could Get Messy by Greg Lazarus

“A simply wonderful story about love …
Funny, with its twists and turns, chuckles and sadness.”


This Is Not A Joke, Maureen by Gail Schimmel

“Really funny despite its dark subject matter.
The depiction of the humourless mother is exquisite.”

Angel Heart by Kobus Moolman

“Unconventional, with an adventurous play of syntax,
and a truly original imagining of Jesus. Bizarre, and intriguing.”


Learning a New Language by Fred Khumalo

“Tongue-in-cheek action which shows up misogyny …
and makes a statement as to learning to appreciate women.”


Jim Goes to Durban by Anton Krueger and Pravasan Pillay

“Good, honest, laugh-out-loud slapstick.”

Number One With A Bullet by Christopher McMichael

“Truly laugh-out-loud funny, with a satirical edge.”

The Derby by Ofentse Ribane

“Written with a sharp energy and an original take.”

The Viewing Room by Diane Awerbuck

“A sophisticated, melancholy and quirky story.”

The Seduction of Ozzie Stone by Stephen Symons

“The ironies, the plot, it all comes together in easy-flowing, integrated writing,
and leaves one smiling wistfully.”

What did the judges have to say about this year’s Short Sharp Stories?

Karabo K Kgoleng: “There are so many things to consider when you have to judge short stories. The lesson in the judging process, for me, is that I have to always contend with the competing imperatives – mostly style and politics. Death and laughter are encapsulated in the stories that scored for me, the stories that balance these, bearing in mind that I must personally respond to the story.”

Ken Barris: “One’s sense of humour is so subjective that it was a challenge to evaluate the Die Laughing entries. How does one judge the quality and quantity of funny? The tales that stood out were subtle and finely observed, viewed the world from an intriguing position, or were edgy and engaging in style. Most important, the best made me laugh.”

Karina M Szczurek: “I am thrilled with the intriguing interpretations of this year’s theme. The inventiveness, the mix of raw and honed talent, and the dark humour make for a rewarding read.”

Earlier this week Lidudumalingani won the 2016 Caine Prize for African Writing for his short story “Memories We Lost”, which was published in the 2015 anthology Incredible Journey: Stories that Move You.

The 2014 anthology Adults Only: Stories of love, lust, sex and sexuality edited by Joanne Hichens won the Edited Fiction Volume Award at the inaugural National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS) Book, Creative and Digital Awards.

This new collection features a foreword by Evita Bezuidenhout, an introduction by Darrel Bristow-Bovey and was edited by Hichens, who is also the curator of the Awards. Keep an eye on Books LIVE for the release date of Die Laughing.

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