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Archive for the ‘Mozambique’ Category

All the South African and African Literary Award Winners of 2015

All the South African and African Literary Award Winners of 2015

2015 was a year of near misses for African literature. Nigerian author Chigozie Obioma came painfully close to winning the Man Booker Prize for his debut novel The Fishermen, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o once again topped the betting odds for the Nobel Prize in Literature, and Marlene van Niekerk was on the receiving end of high praise from the Man Booker International Prizes.

However, Hungarian László Krasznahorkai was announced as the winner of the Man Booker International, Belarusian investigative journalist and non-fiction author Svetlana Alexievich was awarded the Nobel and Marlon James won the Booker Prize for A Brief History of Seven Killings.

Nevertheless, there were accolades aplenty for African and South African writers.

Have we missed something? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments below.

null“An Unstoppable Force” – All Five 2015 Morland Writing Scholarships Awarded to Women

The Miles Morland Foundation announced the winners of the 2015 Morland Writing Scholarships recently.

The winners each receive a grant of ₤18 000 (about R400 000) to allow them to take a year to write a book.

This year’s winners are Fatin Abbas, Sudan (Non-fiction), Akwaeke Emezi, Nigeria (Fiction), Karen Jennings, South Africa, (Fiction), Bolaji Odofin, Nigeria, (Fiction) and Noo Saro-Wiwa, Nigeria, (Non-fiction).

The Foundation’s Literary Director Michela Wrong said: “Women writers began emerging as an unstoppable force a year ago but this year it was a rout. All five scholarships have gone to women, despite the fact that overall there were more male than female applicants.”

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null2015 Mabati Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature Winners Announced

The winners of the inaugural Mabati Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature were announced at the Ake Arts and Book Festival in Nigeria in November.

The Mabati Cornell Kiswahili Prize was founded in 2014 by Mukoma Wa Ngugi, English Professor at Cornell University, and Lizzy Attree, director of the Caine Prize, to promote writing in African languages and encourage translation from, between and into African languages.

The winners were selected from 65 manuscripts. 1st Fiction Prize went to Anna Samwel Manyanza for Penzi la Damu and 1st Poetry Prize to Mohammed K Ghassani for N’na Kwetu.

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nullWinners of the 2015 Maskew Miller Longman Literature Awards

The winners of the 2015 Maskew Miller Longman Literature Awards (MMLLA) – the only literature competition that gives equal weighting to all 11 official South African languages – were announced in November.

The competition explores a different genre each year, this year being Children’s Fiction, and a total of 122 entries were received, with 50 percent in African languages.

Prizes were awarded in Afrikaans, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Setswana, Sepedi and Xitsonga, with Bridget Pitt winning the English section and Tshifhiwa Given Mukwevho the Tshivenda.

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nullWinners of the 2015 Arts Journalism Awards Announced

This year’s Arts Journalism of the Year is Lwandile Fikeni, who also won silver in the “Reviews” category and gold in “Features”.

Broadcaster and writer Nigel Vermaas was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Michele Magwood of the Sunday Times, who hosts the Magwood on Books Podcast on Books LIVE, won a silver award in the Reviews category, while Books LIVE editor Jennifer Malec won a gold award in the News category for her coverage of the “white literary system” debate.

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nullWenners van die 2015 kykNET-Rapport Boekpryse en Jan Rabie-Rapportprys aangekondig

Die wenners van die 2015 kykNET-Rapport Boekpryse en Jan Rabie-Rapportprys is in November aangekondig:

  • Nagmusiek deur Stephanus Muller (Fourth Wall Books) – kykNET-Rapport Boekprys, Niefiksie
  • Ester deur Kerneels Breytenbach (Human & Rousseau) – kykNET-Rapport Boekprys, Film
  • Nagmusiek deur Stephanus Muller (Fourth Wall Books) – Jan Rabie-Rapportprys
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nullWinners of the 2015 Short Story Day Africa Competition Announced

The winner of the 2015 Short Story Day Africa competition was announced at the Aké Arts and Book Festival in Abeokuta, Nigeria, this year. South African author Cat Hellisen took first place, and R10 000, with her story “The Worme Bridge”.

Second place went to Alex Latimer for “Fierce Symmetry”, while third went to Mark Winkler for “Ink”.

Fred Khumalo’s story “Water No Get Enemy” received a special mention.

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nullNathan Trantaal wen die 2015 Ingrid Jonker-prys vir Chokers en survivors

Nathan Trantaal is in Oktober aangekondig as die wenner van die 2015 Ingrid Jonker-prys.

Trantaal se oorrompelende debuutbundel Chokers en survivors het in Junie 2013 verskyn en is in 2014 met die ATKV-Woordveertjie Prys vir Poësie bekroon. Die bundel het ook die kortlyste vir die 2013/2014 UJ Debuutprys (Afrikaans) en die 2014 Elizabeth Eybers Prys vir Poësie gehaal.

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nullLaila Lalami Wins 2015 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for The Moor’s Account

Moroccan-American novelist Laila Lalami won the 2015 Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Legacy Award for fiction for The Moor’s Account, a historical novel about the disastrous 16th-century De Narváez voyage, which left from Spain for the New World, told from the point of view of a Moroccan slave.

The Moor’s Account was also longlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize and the Pulitzer Prize.

The Hurston/Wright Foundation, named after Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright, was created in 1990 in Washington, United States, with the aim of encouraging writers of African descent and to ensure the survival of literature by black writers.

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nullChimamanda Ngozi Adichie Wins “Best of the Best” of The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Half of a Yellow Sun was chosen as the “Best of the Best” of the winners of the last decade of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Adichie beat off competition from authors such as Zadie Smith (On Beauty), Eimear McBride (A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing) and Barbara Kingsolver (The Lacuna).

The Baileys Prize is the UK’s only book award for fiction written by women writers. The “Best of the Best” award was arranged to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the prize.

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nullDon Mattera Receives 2015 ACT Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature

The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) this year named legendary poet and author Don Mattera as the recipient of the 2015 ACT Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature.

Six Lifetime Achievement Awards were awarded for 2015: Mattera, Thembi Mtshali-Jones (Theatre), Caiphus Semenya (Music), Omar Badsha (Visual Art), Johnny Mekoa (Arts Advocacy) and Alfred Hinkel (Dance).

The Literature category for the ACT Lifetime Achievement Awards was initiated in 2012. Nadine Gordimer was the inaugural recipient, Elsa Joubert was honoured in 2013 and André P Brink last year.

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null2015 South African Literary Awards (SALAs) Winners Announced

The winners of this year’s South African Literary Awards (SALAs) were announced in November.

The SALAs celebrate literary excellence in all the languages of South Africa. Antjie Krog and Achmat Dangor received Lifetime Achievement Literary Awards, while Literary Posthumous Awards were bestowed on RRR Dhlomo and HIE Dhlomo.

Carol Campbell won the First Time Published Author Award for My Children Have Faces, while Zukiswa Wanner received the K Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award for London – Cape Town – Joburg.

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nullAthol Williams Wins the 2015 Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award for “Streetclass Diseases”

Athol Williams won the fifth Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award for his poem “Streetclass Diseases”.

“Portrait of a Mother and Indiscretion”, by Sindiswa Busku-Mathese, was awarded second place, with “Baleka, what do you know”, by Jim Pascual Agustin, in third.


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nullSarah Lotz Wins 2015 British Fantasy Award: Best Newcomer for The Three

Sarah Lotz won a 2015 British Fantasy Award for Best Newcomer for The Three in October.

In 2013, Lotz contributed to Magic: An Anthology of the Esoteric and Arcane, which won that year’s British Fantasy Award for Best Anthology.

Day Four, the follow-up novel to The Three, is available now.

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nullCarol Campbell and ZP Dala Win Minara Aziz Hassim Literary Awards for Durban Writers

The inaugural Minara Aziz Hassim Literary Awards, for writers from KwaZulu-Natal, were won by Carol Campbell and ZP Dala.

Campbell took home the Main Category prize for Esther’s House, while Dala was awarded the Debut Category prize for What About Meera.

Read: Carol Campbell and ZP Dala Comment on Winning the Inaugural Minara Aziz Hassim Literary Awards

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nullnullAchille Mbembe Wins the 2015 Geschwister Scholl-Preis

Achille Mbembe won the prestigious Geschwister Scholl-Preis for the German edition of his latest book, Critique de la raison nègre.

The prize is awarded by the Association of German Publishers and Booksellers (Bavaria) and the City of Munich, and honours a book which “testifies to intellectual independence and promotes civil liberties, moral, intellectual and aesthetic courage and to give impetus to the present awareness of responsibility”. The prize comes with an endowment of 10 000 Euros (roughly R150 000).

The prize jury called Kritik der schwarzen Vernunft a “powerfully written book” that “comes at exactly the right time”.

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nullChigozie Obioma Wins the FT/OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices Fiction Award

Nigerian author Chigozie Obioma was awarded the inaugural 2015 FT/OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices Award for his debut novel, The Fishermen.

The FT/OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices Awards were launched this year by the Financial Times and OppenheimerFunds to “identify and reward talent among multiple countries and regions in the developing world”.

This year, the awards recognised artists from Latin America and the Caribbean, filmmakers from Asia-Pacific and writers from Africa and the Middle East. The winners were Obioma, Yuhang Ho of Malaysia for his film Trespassed, and artist Cristina Planas of Peru.

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nullWenners van die 2015 ATKV-Woordveertjies aangewys

Die wenners van die 2015 ATKV-Woordveertjies is in September tydens ‘n glansryke geleentheid te D’Aria Wynlandgoed aangekondig.

Die groot pryse het gegaan aan Francois Smith (Prosaprys), Antjie Krog (Poësie), Chanette Paul (Liefdesroman), Martin Steyn (Spanningslektuur) en Marie-Louise Steyn (Romanses).

Die Woordwystoekenning vir Woordeboeke en Taalgidse is deur die University of KwaZulu-Natal Press ontvang vir Die Ju |’hoan Tsumkwe Dialect/Prentewoordeboek vir Kinders/Children’s Picture Dictionary (2014) terwyl Storiewerf die Toekenning vir Leesbevordering in Afrikaans ontvang het. ‘n Spesiale ATKV-Woordveertjie is aan Litnet toegeken vir Uitnemende Bydrae tot die Woordkuns.

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nullMarguerite Poland’s The Keeper Wins the 2015 Nielsen Booksellers’ Choice Award

Marguerite Poland’s novel The Keeper was announced as the winner of the 2015 Nielsen Booksellers’ Choice Award at the annual gathering of South Africa’s publishers and booksellers in August.

The R20 000 prize is given to the book that South Africa’s booksellers most enjoyed reading, promoting and selling in 2014. The Keeper pipped books by notable authors Zelda la Grange and Nataniël to the post, among a shortlist of five titles.

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nullPan Macmillan and The Book Lounge Shine at the 2015 Sefika Booksellers Awards

Members of the SA Booksellers Association and the Publishers’ Association of South Africa (PASA) gathered for their annual celebration of booksellers and publishers in August, for the roles they play in promoting literacy and a culture of reading by producing and selling quality books in South Africa.

Best Trade Bookseller of the Year (Chain Store) went to Exclusive Books, while Best Trade Bookseller of the Year (Independent) was awarded to The Book Lounge.

Pan Macmillan South Africa won Best Trade Publisher of the Year.

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nullLauren Beukes Wins 2015 Mbokodo Award for Creative Writing

Lauren Beukes received the 2015 Mbokodo Award for Creative Writing.

The Mbokodo Awards highlight the contribution by women in the ongoing development of the arts in South Africa.

The awards celebrate women of different ages, from all cultural groups and are awarded in 20 categories.

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nullZakes Mda Receives Honorary Doctorate

Earlier this year the Central University of Technology (CUT), Free State, honoured Professor Zakes Mda with an Honorary Doctor of Technology Degree in Language Practice for his contribution to language practice in areas of contemporary literature and creative writing.

Mda said: “What you have done is to defy popular wisdom as first enunciated by Jesus in Mark 6:4, and I quote: ‘A prophet is not without honour except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own home.’ Of course, I am not so conceited as to view myself as any kind of prophet, I am merely acknowledging and appreciating the fact that this university has become home since the last time I was fêted here two years ago, and established lasting friendships … the city of Bloemfontein is my own neighbourhood.”

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nullJM Coetzee Receives Honorary Doctorate from SOAS, London

On 24 July, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London bestowed an Honorary Doctorate in Literature upon Nobel Laureate JM Coetzee, in recognition of his contribution to global literature.

At the graduation ceremony Kai Easton, senior lecturer in English at SOAS, paid tribute to Coetzee, remembering in agreement when South African press called him “the Beckett of the Boland, the Kafka of the Karoo, the Faulkner of the veld” some 20 years ago. However, she takes the comparison further, equating him to Bach and Roger Federer.

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nullThis Year’s Short.Sharp.Stories Winners!

Incredible Journey was officially launched at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown at a discussion panel hosted by last year’s winner, Nick Mulgrew, with three of this year’s participants, Bridget Pitt, Lidudumalingani, and Megan Ross.

Andrew Salomon was the Judges’ Choice Winner for Best Story with “Train 124″: “A bleak but fine, immersive evocation of autistic-spectrum experience, this story told with dark humour and narrated with considerable skill never breaks the considerable tension.”

The anthology was launched at The Book Lounge in Cape Town in August.

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nullZambia’s Namwali Serpell Wins the 2015 Caine Prize

Zambian author Namwali Serpell won the 2015 Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story, “The Sack”.

Listen to and read the winning story here.

Serpell received £10 000, while each shortlistee received £500. In an unprecedented move, Serpell announced in her acceptance speech that she would be sharing the prize with her fellow shortlistees – a fine gesture indeed.

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nullZakes Mda and Penny Busetto Win the 2014/2015 University of Johannesburg Prizes for South African Writing (English)

The winners of the two 2014/2015 University of Johannesburg Prizes for South African Writing in English were announced in June.

The main prize of R75 000 has been awarded to Zakes Mda for Rachel’s Blue, while the debut prize of R35 000 has been awarded to Penny Busetto for The Story of Anna P, As Told By Herself.

As usual, the formal prize-giving ceremony was held later in the year.

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nullDamon Galgut and Jacob Dlamini Win the 2015 Sunday Times Literary Awards

Jacob Dlamini and Damon Galgut were announced as the winners of the 2015 Sunday Times Literary Awards at a gala dinner in June.

Dlamini received the Alan Paton Award for Askari: A Story of Collaboration and Betrayal in the Anti-Apartheid Struggle, while Galgut was awarded the Barry Ronge Fiction Prize for Arctic Summer.

Jonny Steinberg received an honourable mention from the judges for A Man of Good Hope.

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nullPemi Aguda Wins 2015 Writivism Short Story Prize

Nigerian author Pemi Aguda was announced as the winner of the 2015 Writivism Short Story Prize at a ceremony in Kampala, Uganda.

Aguda won the award for her short story “Caterer, Caterer”, while Adeola Opeyemi’s “Being a Man” received an honourable mention.

The other writers on the 2015 Writivism shortlist were Dayo Adewunmi Ntwari (Rwanda, for “Devil’s Village”), Nnedinma Jane Kalu (Nigeria, for “Social Studies”) and local author Saaleha Bhamjee (South Africa, for “Dream”).

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null2015 Indigenous Languages Publishing Programme Author Awards Winners Announced

The first ever Indigenous Languages Publishing Programme Author Awards were held in Johannesburg in September.

The awards, a joint initiative between the Department of Arts & Culture (DAC) and the South African Book Development Council (SABDC), rewarded the authors of 19 books in the genres of poetry, novels, short stories, drama and reference, with a R15 000 each.

Among the winners were Gcina Mhlophe, David wa Maahlamela and Mzi Mngadi.

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nullWinners of the 2015 Media24 Books Literary Awards

The winners of the 2015 Media24 Books Literary Awards were announced in Cape Town in June.

Willem Anker (for Buys: ’n grensroman), Michiel Heyns (for A Sportful Malice), Antjie Krog (for Mede-wete), Mark Gevisser (for Lost and Found in Johannesburg), Andre Eva Bosch, and Fiona Moodie were crowned as the winners of the six R35 000 cash prizes this year.

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nullPRAESA Wins Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

The Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa (PRAESA) was awarded the 2015 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award at a cermony in Stockholm, Sweden, in June.

The announcement was made in early April.

PRAESA, which was established by the late Neville Alexander in 1992, is an independent research and development unit affiliated with the University of Cape Town.

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null2015 UJ-pryse: “Soms is die waarheid oor ’n lewe meer storie as feit”

Die UJ-pryse vir Skeppende Skryfwerk in Afrikaans is vanjaar vir die 15de keer toegeken.

Uit ʼn totaal van 55 inskrywings is Willem Anker se grensverskuiwende Buys: ʼn Grensroman as wenner van die UJ-prys aangewys, met Stephanus Muller se magistrale Nagmusiek wat met die UJ-debuutprys bekroon is.

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nullLesley Nneka Arimah Named the 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize Africa Regional Winner

Lesley Nneka Arimah was this year’s Africa Regional Winner of the 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, which is open to unpublished work by writers from the 53 countries of the Commonwealth.

South Africans Jayne Bauling and Fred Khumalo made the shortlist for the prize but they were pipped to the post by the Nigerian author.

The other Regional winners were Asia: Siddhartha Gigoo, “The Umbrella Man” (India), Canada and Europe: Jonathan Tel, “The Human Phonograph” (United Kingdom), Caribbean: Kevin Jared Hosein, “The King of Settlement 4″ (Trinidad and Tobago) and Pacific: Mary Rokonadravu, “Famished Eels” (Fiji).

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nullAndrew Miller Wins the 2015 Dinaane Debut Fiction Award

Andrew Miller won the first Dinaane Debut Fiction Award – previously the European Union Literary Award – for his novel Dub Steps.

The announcement was made by the Jacana Literary Foundation at a ceremony at the Wits University Writing Centre in May.

The award is open to “unpublished English-language manuscripts by debut writers” and comes with R35 000 prize money. The winning manuscript is published by Jacana Media.

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nullRobin Malan Awarded The English Academy of Southern Africa’s Highest Honour

Robin Malan was awarded a gold medal by the English Academy of Southern Africa in April.

Malan was honoured by the academy for his service in education, theatre and publishing. A gold medal is the highest honour the academy bestows.

The Academy said: “Despite his own literary achievements, Robin’s most significant contribution to English is his lifelong, unwavering encouragement of young people to appreciate and to produce English literature in southern Africa.”

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nullRecipients of National Orders for Literature Announced

In April, it was announced that Orders of Ikhamanga were to be bestowed on Themba Patrick Magaisa and posthumously on Mbulelo Vizikhungo Mzamane.

The honours were to be awarded on Freedom Day, 27 April, but the ceremony would be postponed because of the xenophobic violence in the country.

The Orders were handed out in December. Magaisa was praised for his “outstanding contribution to the development of indigenous literature in South Africa”, and Mzamane for his “excellent contribution to the development of African literature and the upliftment of African languages on the global stage”.

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nullLillian Akampuria Aujo Wins the First Jalada Prize for Literature

The winners of the inaugural Jalada Prizes for Literature – sponsored by the Kwani Trust – were announced in early March by Jalada, a pan-African writers collective.

This year’s judges were Sofia Samatar, Richard Ali, Okwiri Oduor, Clifton Gachagua, Anne Moraa, Kiprop Kimutai, Abdul Adanis, Stephen Derwent Partington and Moses Kilolo.

The main prize was awarded to Ugandan writer and poet Lillian Akampuria Aujo.

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nullNicola Hanekom wen Eugène Maraisprys vir Die pad byster, Tertius Kapp ontvang Hertzogprys vir Oorsee en Rooiland

Die Raad van die Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns het pas die wenners van hul 2015-bekronings bekend in Maart gemaak.

Nicola Hanekom het die Eugène Maraisprys vir Die pad byster gewen. Tertius Kapp ontvang die gesogte Hertzogprys vir Oorsee: ‘n Drama en Rooiland: Die drama.

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nullSongeziwe Mahlangu Wins 2014 Etisalat Prize

Songeziwe Mahlangu won the 2014 Etisalat Prize for Literature for debut fiction for Penumbra.

The three shortlisted authors were Mahlangu, Nadia Davids, for An Imperfect Blessing, and Chinelo Okparanta, for Happiness Like Water.

Neema Komba was the winner of the Etisalat Flash Fiction competition.

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nullWinners of the South African HorrorFest Bloody Parchment Short Story Competition Announced

Books LIVE had the privilege of announcing the winners of this year’s Bloody Parchment short story competition. Joint first place went to Bernice Mills (South Africa) and Benjamin Knox (UK).

Runners-up this year were Austin Malone and Belinda Lewis, with finalists (in alphabetical order) being Toby Bennett, Dave-Brendon de Burgh, John Paul Davies, Elaine Dodge, EL Garcia, Abigail Godsell, Icy Sedgwick, Jason Mykl Snyman, and Nic Zav.

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nullIvan Vladislavić, Teju Cole and Helon Habila Awarded 2015 Windham Campbell Prizes for Fiction

The winners of the 2015 Windham Campbell Literature Prizes were announced in February. The prize, in its third year, is awarded to “honour and support writers anywhere in the world writing in English”, and comes with prize money of $150 000.

There are three categories – fiction, nonfiction, and drama – and three winners in each category.

The 2015 winners were, in fiction: Teju Cole, Helon Habila and Ivan Vladislavić; in nonfiction: Edmund de Waal, Geoff Dyer and John Jeremiah Sullivan; and in drama: Jackie Sibblies Drury, Helen Edmundson and Debbie Tucker Green.

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nullAndré Brink Receives Honorary Doctorate from Belgian University, UCL

On Monday, 2 February, André Brink accepted the honorary doctorate bestowed on him by the Belgian Francophone Université catholique de Louvain (UCL), Louvain-la-Neuve, during an extravagant ceremony held at the Aula Magna exhibition centre and auditorium.

Brink delivered an address expressing his gratitude to those present and especially those who continue to probe and study, always searching for more and probing for a response. During his address he insists that, if we did not search, if we did not pose questions, there would be no adventure.

“Essentially it is all that matters: to continue looking for a response,” he said.

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nullHenrietta Rose-Innes Wins the François Sommer Literary Prize for Ninive, the French Translation of Nineveh

Henrietta Rose-InnesNinive, the French translation of Nineveh, was awarded the François Sommer Literary Prize.

The prize is awarded to novels and literary works that explore the relationship between humans and nature and support “the values of humanistic ecology”.

More awards

» read article

Moira Forjaz: Mozambique 1975/1985 is Jenny Crwys-Williams’ 2015 Book of the Year

Moira Forjaz: Mozambique 1975/1985 is Jenny Crwys-Williams’ 2015 Book of the Year

Alert! Jenny Crwys-Williams has announced her Book of the Year for 2015: Moira Forjaz: Mozambique 1975/1985, published by Jacana Media.

The shortlist was Moira Forjaz: Mozambique 1975/1985, More Life’s a Beach Cottage (Cookbook winner), A Brief History of Seven Killings (Fiction winner), Burchell’s Travels (Non-fiction winner), and Ultimate Star Wars (Honourable Mention).

More Life's a Beach CottageA Brief History of Seven KillingsBurchell's TravelsMoira ForjazUltimate Star Wars
Jenny Crwys-Williams Reveals Her 2015 Book of the Year Shortlist

Book details

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Programme for the 2015 ParkWords Parkview Literary Festival Announced

Alert! The programme for the ParkWords 2015, Parkview Literary Festival, has been released.

The festival, which is hosted by the Parkview Residents’ Association, is a celebration of the literary talent in the area. It features informal talks and debates, events for children and teenagers, food and entertainment, and the opportunity to buy many wonderful books!

This is is the second year of the festival, and the line-up of authors is even more exciting than last year’s programme. The authors and literati who will be taking part are: Mondli Makhanya, David Smith, William Gumede, Justice Malala, Greg Mills, Peter Bruce, Tim Cohen, Rob Rose, Chris Yelland, James Styan, Ray Hartley, Carlos Amato, Kevin McCallum, Harriet Gavshon, Sarah Emily Duff, Andrea Burgener, Richard Steyn, Tim Couzens, Jenny Crwys-Williams, Craig Higgingson, Mandla Langa, Pamela Power, Judith Ancer, Arthur Goldstuck, Maureen Isaacson, Karen Lazar, Lisa Seftel, Wayne Duvenage, Ben Williams, Achmat Dangor, Dov Fedler, David Williams, David Lewis, Didi Moyle, Bridget Hilton-Barber, Denise Slabbert, Jabulile Ngwenya and Michele Magwood.

South Africa in BRICSLet Them Eat CakeHow South Africa WorksReconciliation\'s Vengeful EchoThe Grand ScamRagged Glory
Lampedusa PieTramp RoyalThe Dream HouseThe Texture of ShadowsMs Conception
Tech-Savvy ParentingHemispheresThe E-Tolls SagaStrange PilgrimagesOut of Line
Jacques Kallis and 12 Other Great South African All-roundersThieves at the Dinner TableSpeaking Truth to PowerTravel Guide to Maputo and Southern MozambiqueOffbeat South Africa


Take a look at the main programme:



Here is the programme for the young and young at heart:



More information about ParkWords:


Event Details

Book details

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Mia Couto’s Confession of the Lioness Now Available in English (Plus: Excerpt)

Mia Couto's Confession of the Lioness Now Available in English (Plus: Excerpt)

Confession of the LionessMia Couto’s Confession of the Lioness, first published in Portuguese in 2012, has been released in English, translated by David Brookshaw.

Couto is the winner of the 2014 Neustadt International Prize for Literature, and was also a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize this year – an award that honours a body of work and the author’s contribution to international fiction, as opposed to the Man Booker Prize’s focus on a single publication. The award ultimately went to Hungarian author László Krasznahorkai.

Couto made headlines earlier this year when he wrote a critical open letter to President Jacob Zuma which began, “We remember you in Maputo …”

Surrisingly, Zuma replied in kind, with a poetic piece beginning “My Dear Brother”, and continuing: “I remember you from our days in Mozambique”.

In a review for the Financial Times, University of Cape Town academic Hedley Twidle calls Couto’s letter to Zuma: “A fierce and fearless critique, but one voiced in customary and coded ways”, and suggests that this is also an apt description of his latest novel.

It reads as a passionate denunciation of patriarchy and violence against women in an east African village, a village that is being menaced by predators both feline and human. But again, it does this without reaching for familiar kinds of critique (the word “patriarchy” certainly never appears). Perhaps rather cunningly, it evades the vocabularies of feminism, environmentalism or human rights — the language of NGOs that some leaders are quick to dismiss as “western” imports when it suits them to do so.

Ellah Allfrey, editor of Africa39, deputy chair of the council of the Caine Prize and 2015 Man Booker Prize judge reviewed Confession of the Lioness for The Guardian, saying that while Couto “renders the politics of everyday living poetically”, his “focus on the status and treatment of women displays a stout refusal to look away from a harsh reality – fiction brings us closer to the truth here than mere facts ever could”.

Read an excerpt from Confession of the Lioness:

There’s only one way to escape from a place: It’s by abandoning ourselves. There’s only one way to abandon ourselves: It’s by loving someone.

—excerpt pilfered from the writer’s notebooks

It’s two in the morning and I can’t sleep. A few hours from now, they’ll announce the result of the contest. That’s when I’ll know whether I’ve been selected to go and hunt the lions in Kulumani. I never thought I’d rejoice so much at being chosen. I’m in dire need of sleep. That’s because I want to get away from myself. I want to sleep so as not to exist.


The sun’s nearly up and I’m still wrestling with the sheets. My only ailment is this: insomnia broken by brief snatches of sleep from which I wake with a start. When it comes down to it, I sleep like the animals I hunt for a living: the jumpy wakefulness of one who knows that too much inattention can be fatal.

To summon sleep, I resort to the ploy my mother used when it was our bedtime. I remember her favorite story, a legend from her native region. This is how she would tell it:

In the old days, there was nothing but night. And God shepherded the stars in the sky. When he gave them more food, they would grow fat and their bellies would burst with light. At that time, all the stars ate, and all glowed with the same joy. The days were not yet born, and that was why Time advanced on only one leg. And everything was so slow up there in the endless firmament! Until, among the shepherd’s flock, a star was born that aspired to be bigger than all the others. This star was called Sun, and it soon took over the celestial pastures, banishing the other stars afar, so that they began to fade. For the first time, there were stars that suffered and became so pale that they were swallowed up by the darkness. The Sun flaunted its grandeur more and more, lordly over its domains and proud of its name, so redolent of masculinity. And so he gave himself the title of lord of all the stars and planets, assuming all the arrogance of the center of the Universe. It wasn’t long before he declared that it was he who had created God. But in fact what had happened was that with the Sun now so vast and sovereign, Day had been born. Night only dared to approach when the Sun, tired at last, decided to go to bed. With the advent of Day, men forgot the endless time when all stars shone with the same degree of happiness. And they forgot the lesson of the Night, who had always been a queen without ever having to rule.

This was the story. Forty years on and this maternal comfort has no effect. It won’t be long before I know whether I’m going back to the bush, where men have forgotten all the lessons learned. It’ll be my last hunting expedition. And once again, the first voice I ever heard echoes in my mind: And everything was so slow up there in the endless firmament.


About the book

From 2015 Man Booker International finalist, Mia Couto

My sister Silência was the most recent victim of the lions, which have been tormenting our village for some weeks now…

When Mariamar Mpepe’s sister is killed by lions, her father imprisons her at home. With only the ghost of her sister for company, she dreams of escape, and of the hunter who abandoned her years before.

I’m the last of the hunters. And this is my last hunt.

Archangel Bullseye, born into a long line of marksmen, is summoned back to Kulumani. But as he tracks the lions in the surrounding wilderness, his suspicions grow – that the darkest threats lie not outside the village, but at its very heart.

What was happening was what always happened: The lions were coming back…

Set in a forgotten corner of East Africa haunted by superstition, tradition and the shades of civil war, this is a struggle that blurs the savagery of nature, and the savagery of man.

About the author

Mia Couto, born in Mozambique in 1955, is one of the most prominent writers in Portuguese-speaking Africa. His books, deeply rooted in the political upheavals, languages and narratives of his native land, have been published in more than 20 countries. He has won many awards, including the 2014 Neustadt International Prize for Literature, and has been selected for the 2015 Man Booker International Prize shortlist. He lives in Maputo, and works as a biologist.

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Author photo: Mia Couto on Facebook

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Award-winning Mozambican Author Mia Couto’s Open Letter to Jacob Zuma on Xenophobia Crisis: “We Remember You in Maputo”

Mozambican author Mia Couto has written an open letter to Jacob Zuma concerning the current xenophobic violence in South Africa.

Couto received the prestigious 2014 Neustadt International Prize for Literature, becoming the first Mozambican author to be honoured with the title, and was recently announced as a finalist for the 2015 Man Booker International Prize.

A River Called TimeThe Tuner of SilencesUnder the FrangipaniVoices Made NightSleepwalking Land

Update: President Jacob Zuma has responded to Couto: Read his open letter here

Paul Fauvet, the editor of the Mozambique News Agency, shared a translation of Couto’s open letter in a public post on Facebook.

Read the letter:

Open Letter from the Chairperson of the “Fernando Leite Couto Foundation”, Mia Couto

To: His Excellency President Jacob Zuma

We remember you in Maputo, in the 1980s, from that time you spent as a political refugee in Mozambique. Often our paths crossed on Julius Nyerere Avenue and we would greet each other with the casual friendliness of neighbours. Often I imagined the fears that you must have felt, as a person persecuted by the apartheid regime. I imagined the nightmares you must have experienced at night when you thought of the ambushes plotted against you and against your comrades in the struggle. But I don’t remember ever seeing you with a bodyguard. In fact it was we Mozambicans who acted as your bodyguards. For years we gave you more than a refuge. We offered you a house and we gave you security at the cost of our security. You cannot possibly have forgotten this generosity.

We haven’t forgotten it. Perhaps more than any other neighbouring country, Mozambique paid a high price for the support we gave to the liberation of South Africa. The fragile Mozambican economy was wrecked. Our territory was invaded and bombed. Mozambicans died in defence of their brothers on the other side of the border. For us, Mr President, there was no border, there was no nationality. We were all brothers in the same cause, and when apartheid fell, our festivities were the same, on either side of the border.

For centuries Mozambican migrants, miners and peasants, worked in neighbouring South Africa under conditions that were not far short of slavery. These workers helped build the South African economy. There is no wealth in your country that does not carry the contribution of those who today are coming under attack.

For all these reasons, it is not possible to imagine what is going on in your country. It is not possible to imagine that these same South African brothers have chosen us as a target for hatred and persecution. It is not possible that Mozambicans are persecuted in the streets of South Africa with the same cruelty that the apartheid police persecuted freedom fighters, inside and outside the country. The nightmare we are living is more serious than that visited upon you when you were politically persecuted. For you were the victim of a choice, of an ideal that you had embraced. But those who are persecuted in your country today are guilty merely of having a different nationality. Their only crime is that they are Mozambicans. Their only offence is that they are not South Africans.

Mr President, the xenophobia expressed today in South Africa is not merely a barbaric and cowardly attack against “the others”. It is also aggression against South Africa itself. It is an attack against the “Rainbow Nation” which South Africans proudly proclaimed a decade or more ago. Some South Africans are staining the name of their motherland. They are attacking the feelings of gratitude and solidarity between nations and peoples. It is sad that your country today is in the news across the world for such inhuman reasons.

Certainly measures are being taken. But they are proving inadequate, and above all they have come late. The rulers of South Africa can argue everything except that they were taken by surprise. History was allowed to repeat itself. Voices were heard spreading hatred with impunity. That is why we are joining our indignation to that of our fellow Mozambicans and urging you: put an immediate end to this situation, which is a fire that can spread across the entire region, with feelings of revenge being created beyond South Africa’s borders. Tough, immediate and total measures are needed which may include the mobilization of the armed forces. For, at the end of the day, it is South Africa itself which is under attack.

Mr President, you know, better than we do, that police actions can contain this crime but, in the current context, other preventive measures must be taken. So that these criminal events are never again repeated.

For this, it is necessary to take measures on another scale, measures that work over the long term. Measures of civic education, and of exalting the recent past in which we were so close, are urgently needed. It is necessary to recreate the feelings of solidarity between our peoples and to rescue the memory of a time of shared struggles. As artists, as makers of culture and of social values, we are available so that, together with South African artists, we can face this new challenge, in unity with the countless expressions of revulsion born within South African society. We can still transform this pain and this shame into something which expresses the nobility and dignity of our peoples and our nations. As artists and writers, we want to declare our willingness to support a spirit of neighbourliness which is born, not from geography, but from a kinship of our common soul and shared history.

Maputo, 17 April 2015
Mia Couto

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Image courtesy of Neustadt Prize

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Jan Taljaard resenseer boeke oor oorlog: Forged in Battle en Weep for Africa en nóg

Forged in BattleWeep for AfricaThe Rebel in MeKruger, Kommandos & Kak: Debunking the Myths of the Boer War
MercenariesThe Battle for Mozambique

Uitspraak: wortels

Vanjaar, ’n eeu nadat die Eerste Wêreldoorlog uitgebreek het, het daar nie net heelwat publikasies oor dié oorlog verskyn nie, maar verskeie ander konflikte is ook in heroënskou geneem. Jan Taljaard bekyk ’n paar van dié boeke.

Boeke oor oorlog kan om ’n verskeidenheid van redes boeiende leesstof wees – vir dié met ’n belangstelling in geskiedenis, mense wat self in ’n bepaalde konflik vasgevang was en nou meer wil weet oor die verloop daarvan, of die bloot avontuurlustiges en selfs maagdelike bloeddorstiges wat deur ander se ervaring ’n proesel van kartets en kruit wil hê.


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Mia Couto: “No One Becomes a Writer as if They Were Fulfilling Some Irreversible Destiny”

“I am often asked when I became a writer, and I have taken to not rushing my answer.” So writes 2014 Neustadt International Prize for Literature recipient Mozambique author Mia Couto in an essay for Granta in which he offers a calculated answer to this question. “The truth is, the question does merit a pause for thought, not only to think of an answer, but also to think about the nature of the question itself.”

This pause for thought on the moment he became a writer leads Couto to the conclusion that it might not be a single, specific moment that “makes” one a writer. “Most of the time the question is flawed. There is no such thing as the moment we become something. No one becomes a writer as if they were fulfilling some irreversible destiny. The verb to be is more accurate in these matters: you can’t become a writer, you are one,” Couto says.

The Tuner of SilencesUnder the FrangipaniVoices Made NightSleepwalking Land

To appease those asking this impossible question, Couto shares four vignettes to single out moments that might have made him a writer. The first one is a memory from a time when his parents took him and his brothers to go see animals in the Gorongosa National Park. An encounter with a pair of lions shatters something in the six-year-old Couto “because I realised that I did not know how to see”, he writes.

The second vignette is about the stories his parents told them as children and the way they “summoned ancient voices, channelled the longing they felt for their homeland and made those absent voices return”. Couto’s parents emigrated from Portugal to settle in Mozambique, where he was born in 1955. “I am the child of emigrants, but I am also the child of their stories,” he writes.

The third picture painted by the author is of his childhood home, “a place of many voices”. He remembers how he moved between the street and the colonial house, how the veranda was the liveliest part of the house, how he would creep slowly past the mango tree in the yard to the kitchen where women with long skirts murmured secrets and “could conjure up the sanctity of a temple”.

The final moment that left a lasting impression on Couto is when a primary school teacher interrupted a lesson to read something he had written: a creative essay about his mother’s hands. Couto still remembers the ending of this essay and says that it “set off a strange revelation in me about the power of writing, and how the written word can encompass feeling”.

Read the beautifully written argument in defence of the idea that there is no one moment that makes one a writer:

I am often asked when I became a writer, and I have taken to not rushing my answer. A character from one of my stories would say that the difference between African wise men and European wise men is that the former are the last to provide answers. The truth is, the question does merit a pause for thought, not only to think of an answer, but also to think about the nature of the question itself. As Brazilian author João Guimarães Rosa, my dear Mestre Rosa, would say: God may tarry, but He will surely come. In my own case, God has not arrived yet.

Most of the time the question is flawed. There is no such thing as the moment we become something. No one becomes a writer as if they were fulfilling some irreversible destiny. The verb to be is more accurate in these matters: you can’t become a writer, you are one.

Yet none of these considerations ever satisfy the curiosity of those who ask me when I became a writer. So I have given up working round the question’s misconceptions. Now I reply, and make up a new explanation each time.

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Image courtesy of Rede Angola

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Chitja Twala Reviews Against All Odds by Hussein Solomon

Against All Odds: Opposition Political Parties in Southern AfricaVerdict: carrot

This volume edited by Hussein Solomon brings to the fore the vibrant intellectual work of a new generation of scholars in the southern part of Africa. The fact that the authors come from different countries helps in making a comparative analysis of the roles opposition political parties play elsewhere in the region and what lessons could be learnt from each country’s case study. It is an important contribution to the understanding of opposition political parties in southern Africa and how they battle to become strong.

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2015 IMPAC Dublin Award Longlist Announced: Six Africans Named, Including JM Coetzee

2015 International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award

Alert! Six African writers have been named on the longlist for the 2015 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the world’s most valuable annual prize for a single work of fiction published in English.

The longlist, which was announced yesterday, consists of 142 books, 29 of which are first novels.

This year’s African contingent comprises: JM Coetzee (The Childhood of Jesus), NoViolet Bulawayo (We Need New Names), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Americanah), Moroccan author Mahi Binebine (Horses of God), Taiye Selasi (Ghana Must Go) and Mia Couto (The Tuner of Silences), who has already won the 2014 Neustadt International Prize for Literature this year.

The shortlist will be announced in April.

The Childhood of JesusWe Need New NamesAmericanahHorses of GodThe Tuner of SilencesGhana Must Go

Other notable names on the list include Margaret Atwood, Roddy Doyle, Dave Eggers, this year’s Man Booker Prize winner Richard Flanagan, Neil Gaiman, Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling), Elizabeth Gilbert, Khaled Hosseini, Stephen King, Karl Ove Knausgaard, 2013 National Book Award-winner James McBride, Jodi Picoult, Thomas Pynchon, 2014 Pulitzer Prize-winner Donna Tartt and Tim Winton.

Nominees for the IMPAC Dublin Award are made by libraries in major cities throughout the world. Over 400 libraries in 177 countries participate, with each nominating up to three novels they believe are of “high literary merit”. The winner receives €100,000 (+/- R1.4 million).

No South African has yet won the award, although in 2010 there was strong local representation on the longlistThando Mgqolozana, Jacques Pauw, Mark Behr, JM Coetzee, Zakes Mda, Gill Schierhout and Marie Heese – while JM Coetzee was shortlisted in 2007, Damon Galgut and Diane Awerbuck shortlisted in 2005, and Andre Brink shortlisted in 1998.

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Image courtesy of International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award

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The 2014 South African Literary Award (SALA) Winners

Alert! The winners of the 2014 South African Literary Awards (SALAs) have been revealed.

The SALAs were founded in 2005 by the wRite associates and the Department of Arts and Culture, to celebrate literary excellence in all the languages of South Africa.

Claire Robertson, who won this year’s Sunday Times Fiction Prize, won the First-time Published Author Award, and Books LIVE community members Makhosazana Xaba and Sihle Khumalo were also rewarded for their literary efforts.

Nuruddin Farah and Njabulo Ndebele received Lifetime Achievement Literary Awards, while Mbulelo Mzamane received a Posthumous Literary Award.

The Spiral House Running Love InterruptedThe Great Agony and Pure Laughter of the GodsThe Turtle Dove Told MeAlmost Sleeping My Way to Timbuktu

The Children of SowetoChildren of ParadiseCrossbonesFrom a Crooked RibThe Cry of Winnie MandelaRediscovery of the Ordinary




Claire Robertson, The Spiral House (English, Umuzi Publishers)


Makhosazana Xaba, Running and Other Stories (English, Modjaji books)
Reneilwe Malatji, Love Interrupted (English, Modjaji Books)


Jamala Safari, The Great Agony and Pure laughter of the Gods (English, Umuzi Publishing)


Nhlanhla Maake, Malefane (Sesotho/English, Ekaam Books)


Thandi Sliepen, The Turtle Dove Told Me (English, Modjaji Books)
Themba Patrick Magaisa, Mihloti ya Tingana (Xitsonga, published by TP Magaisa)


Sihle Khumalo, Almost Sleeping My Way to Timbuktu (English, Umuzi Publishers)


Mbulelo Vizikhungo


Nuruddin Farah and Njabulo Ndebele
Tweets from the event:

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