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Announcing the Inaugural André Brink Memorial Lecture, to be delivered at this year's @FranLitFest

The SA Writers' College 2015 Annual Short Story Award Theme and Prizes Announced


SA Writers’ College has announced the details for this year’s Short Story Competition, an annual award that acknowledges excellent writing by emerging talent in South Africa.

The theme for this year is “Anniversary”, because this year is the 10th anniversary of the SA Writers’ College. To celebrate this landmark, prizes are larger than ever before: a total of R17 000 will be awarded to the writers of the top three stories. The grand prize is R10 000.

The competition is open to all South African residents, who have been published fewer than four times in any genre, in any publication. Entries must be submitted by midnight on 31 March, 2015, should be previously unpublished, and no more than 2 000 words in length.

Read more about the competition:

2015 Annual Short Story Award

For Emerging Writers in South Africa

This competition is to acknowledge excellence in creative writing in the Short Story genre. The contest is open to any emerging writer residing in South Africa who has had fewer than four stories/articles published in any format (print or digital).

To celebrate our anniversary of ten successful years at SA Writers’ College, we are offering bumper prizes in 2015.Anniversary-badge


First Prize: R 10 000
Second Prize: R 5 000
Third Prize: R 2 000

The top five entries will be published on our college site and the top five winners will receive editorial comments on their submitted works.

2015 SAFTA Nominations Announced: A Nod to Work by Justin Bonello, Zapiro, Deon Opperman and More

The nominees for the ninth annual South African Film and Television Awards, known as the SAFTAs, have been announced. The winners of the Golden Horn Trophies will be announced at two events to be held on 19 and 22 March.

The documentary Miners Shot Down has been nominated for four awards: Best Documentary Feature, Best Achievement in Directing – Documentary Feature, Best Achievement in Sound – Documentary Feature and Best Achievement in Editing – Documentary Feature. From the point of view of the Marikana miners, the documentary follows the strike from day one and the tragedy that ensued. For more on this event you could read Reporting from the Frontline by Gia Nicolaides, We Are Going To Kill Each Other Today by Thanduxolo Jika or Marikana by Peter Alexander.

We Are Going To Kill Each Other TodayMarikanaReporting from the FrontlineThe Accidental AmbassadorDonkerlandHartland
DonkerlandKruispad7de Laan CelebratesIncognitoChester Missing's Guide to the Elections '14It's Code Red!

The cast and crew of Afrikaans drama series Donkerland have been nominated in an astounding 10 categories, with two nominations (out of a possible three) in the Best Actor in a lead role – TV drama and Best supporting Actor – TV drama categories. A trilogy related to this series was published by NB Publishers: Hartland, Donkerland and Kruispad.

ZANews has also been nominated for an incredible 10 categories, including Best Achievement in Scriptwriting –TV Comedy and Best Actor in a lead role – TV Comedy. Some of their “agent proveocateurs” include Chester Missing (Chester Missing’s Guide to the Elections ’14) and Ben Trovato (Incognito), with Zapiro (It’s Code Red)and Jerm (Comedy Club) responsible for many of the “inkings” on which the famous puppets are based. Zapiro is also one of the co-creators of the satirical puppet show.

7de Laan has been nominated in seven categories, including Best Achievement in Directing – TV Soap and Best Achievement in Art/Design Production – TV Soap. Recipes from this soap, which sees a Deli and coffee shop as two major settings, are available in 7de Laan Celebrates.

The Last Boers of Patagonia has been nominated for four awards: Best Achievement in Directing – Documentary Short, Best Achievement in Cinematography – Documentary Short, Best Achievement in Sound – Documentary Short and Best Achievement in Editing – Documentary Short. It tells the story of a group of Afrikaans-speaking people who have been living in a remote region of Patagonia, Argentina, for over 100 years. Tony Leon’s book The Accidental Ambassador: From Parliament to Patagonia shares more about his time as the South African ambassador to Argentina, offering insight to this unique group of people too.

Justin Bonello’s Ultimate Braai Master: The roads less travelled has been nominated for the Best Reality Show award. His latest book, Cooked in the Karoo, was published by Penguin last year.

Have a look at the list of nominees to see who else has been recognised for the contribution to the South African film and television industry:

2015 SAFTAs Nominees Announcement List by Books LIVE


Book details

  • We Are Going To Kill Each Other Today: The Marikana Story by Thanduxolo Jika, Sebabatso Mosamo, Leon Sadiki, Athandiwe Saba, Felix Dlangamandla, Lucas Ledwaba
    EAN: 9780624063452
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!
  • Marikana: A view from the mountain and a case to answer by Peter Alexander, Thapelo Lekgowa, Botsang Mmope, Luke Sinwell, Bongani Xezwi
    EAN: 9781431407330
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

5 Great Books to Help You Get to Grips with Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene's 2015 Budget Speech

On Wednesday, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene delivered the budget speech for 2015. The spending plan for South Africa’s next financial year is important because the government’s allocation of resources impacts social and economic issues, because taxation makes a big difference to ordinary people, and because government debt affects everyone.

Here are five great books that will give you some perspective on the 2015 budget. If money makes the world go round, these books can be your travel maps:

Everyone's Guide to the South African Economy 11th EditionEveryone’s Guide to the South African Economy 11th Edition by Andre Roux is a guide to the essentials of the South African economy, including definitions of key terms and economic jargon, and an investigation of recent global economic events and their causes and consequences.
Maya On MoneyMaya On Money by Maya Fisher-French is a guide to making good plans with your money, and then sticking to them. It is a practical resource for making wise choices based on South Africa’s particular economic reality.
The Missing PieceThe Missing Piece: Solving South Africa’s Economic Puzzle by Kevin Lings looks at the development of South Africa’s economy, which is intricately tied up with the country’s government, over the past 20 years. The book looks at what works and where South Africa has fallen short, and what the country need to do now.
Economic IndicatorsEconomic Indicators: Fourth Edition by Philip Mohr is a comprehensive guide to important economic statistics and related social and political indicators. It is a great reference for professionals, but it is also accessible for anyone interested in the field of economics.
Tax, Lies and Red TapeTax, Lies and Red Tape by Dawie Roodt, one of South Africa’s most experienced and controversial economists, is a well-informed and thoroughly opinionated look at how economies, and by extension people, really work.
Wyndham Hartley has summarised some of the important features of the 2015 budget in an article for Business Day.

Read the article:

Government spending is to be slashed by R25bn in the next two years with departments not involved in service delivery bearing the brunt of the cuts.

Mainline service delivery departments such as education, health, police and defence are being defended against losing ground with increases that are a bit ahead of inflation. There will also be reductions of R11bn in the allocations for provinces and an almost R2bn reduction in allocations to local government over the next two fiscal years (2015-16 and 2016-17).

The Times has shared the full text of Finance Minister Nene’s full speech.

Read the speech:

Honourable Speaker –

I have the honour to present the first budget of our fifth democratic Parliament.

Members of the House, and fellow South Africans – Over the past twenty years we have built houses, delivered water and electricity, improved access to schools and health care.

Yet there are people living in shacks, there are schools without sanitation, there are patients without care.

We have made progress in dismantling apartheid divisions. Yet there are still fault-lines across our social landscape.

We have agreed on a National Development Plan. But there is still hard work ahead in its implementation.

Though we continue to register positive growth rates, many businesses have struggled to maintain profitability, unemployment remains high and government has had to adjust to slower revenue growth.

Today’s budget is constrained by the need to consolidate our public finances, in the context of slower growth and rising debt.

And so we must intensify efforts to address economic constraints, improve our growth performance, create work opportunities and broaden economic participation.

We need to achieve these goals if our National Development Plan is to be realised.

Book details

Send in Your Books for the $40 000 FT/Oppenheimer Emerging Voices Award

Calling all publishers! Submit your books to a new literary award for fiction, sponsored by the Financial Times and OppenheimerFunds.

The FT/OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices Award is worth $40 000 US to the winner, and residents or passport holders from most African countries are eligible.

The deadline for submissions is 30 April; here’s more on the rules of entry:

The fiction award will be presented to a published work of fiction in English or published in English translation. The books must be a minimum of 20,000 words long and be written by a national or passport holder of one of the eligible countries of Africa and the Middle East. Submissions are invited from all global publishers. Self-published works will not be accepted for entry. The works must be published in print or digital form, or both, between 1 January 2014 and 30 September 2015.

Emerging Voices 2015

Damon Galgut Included on the Longlist for the 2015 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction

Arctic SummerAlert! Arctic Summer by Damon Galgut has been nominated for the 2015 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.

The Walter Scott Prize is one of the largest literary awards in the UK and is named after the author of Waverley, largely considered to be one of the first proper works of historical fiction. The total value of the prize is £30 000 and is a unique reward for writing of exceptional quality set in the past.

Galgut is included on the longlist, which has been revealed to the public for the first time since the award’s inception in 2010, along with Anna Hope, Sarah Waters, Adam Foulds, Martin Amis and 10 other writers.

Past winners of the Walter Scott Prize are Robert Harris, Tan Twan Eng, Sebastian Barry, Andrea Levy and Hilary Mantel.

The shortlist will be announced on 24 March, at an event to be held in London, while the winner will be announced at the Melrose Borders Book Festival in June.

Congratulations, Damon!


Press release

The Chairman and Judges of the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction today announced a longlist of fifteen books for 2015. In a change to prize protocol this year, the longlist is made public for the first time, and a shortlist announcement event in London will be held on 24th March. These new developments have been prompted by an increase in entries to the prize (of 40% from 2014), and the high quality of historical fiction being currently published, reflecting the gathering prestige of the prize as it enters its fifth year.

The longlisted books for the 2015 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction are:

The Zone of InterestThe Temporary GentlemanThe MiniaturistThe LieViper Wine
In the Wolf's MouthMr Mac and MeArctic SummerWakeThe Wake
The UndertakingA God in Every StoneThe Architect's ApprenticeTen Thousand ThingsThe Paying Guests


The Zone of Interest by Martin Amis
The Temporary Gentleman by Sebastian Barry
The Miniaturistby Jessie Burton
The Lie by Helen Dunmore
Viper Wine by Hermione Eyre
In The Wolf’s Mouth by Adam Foulds
Mr Mac and Me by Esther Freud
Arctic Summer by Damon Galgut
Wake by Anna Hope
The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth
The Undertaking by Audrey Magee
A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie
The Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafak
The Ten Thousand Things by John Spurling
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters


* * * * * * * * *

Also read:


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Help Nal'ibali and Gcina Mhlophe Set a New Reading Record on World Read Aloud Day (and Win)

Celebrate World Reading Aloud Day

Alert! Nal’ibali invites you to participate in World Read Aloud Day on Wednesday, 4 March.

The national reading-for-enjoyment campaign is attempting to break their read-aloud record of 2014 and needs all parents, teachers, grown ups and older brothers and sisters to read the same story at the same time to the little ones in their lives.

Legendary storyteller and 21 Icon Gcina Mhlophe has written a beautiful story for the occasion that is available from various platforms in all 11 official languages.

On World Read Aloud Day Mhlophe will read her story entitled, “Sisanda’s gift”, to over 400 children at the Mbuyisa Makhubu Primary School Nal’ibali Reading Club in Orlando West, Soweto.

“For me, the most important thing is for children to feel loved in many different ways and sharing a story with them is a beautiful way of showing that you care. Of course the secret is that reading for pleasure isn’t just fun for children, it feels tremendously good for us adults too!” Mhlope said.

The Singing ChameleonOur Story MagicSongs and Stories of Africa: An Audio CDStories of Africa
Hi Zoleka!21 Icons

To participate, simply visit the Nal’ibali website or mobisite, sign up and download “Sisanda’s gift”. On World Read Aloud Day read the story to your child or the children in your neighbourhood and tell Nal’ibali how many children listened to the story.

When you sign up you stand a chance to win two aeroplane tickets, courtesy of South African Airways.

In addition to the various online platforms the story will also be published in the special Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment supplement in these Times Media newspapers:

KwaZulu-Natal: Sunday World (English and isiZulu) on Sundays

Gauteng: Sunday World (English and isiZulu) on Sundays

Free State: Sunday World (English and Sesotho) on Sundays

Western Cape: Sunday Times Express (English and isiXhosa) on Sundays

Eastern Cape: The Daily Dispatch on Tuesday and The Herald on Thursdays (English and isiXhosa).

For a full list of participating SABC radio stations, visit the Nal’ibali website.


Press release


Nal’ibali, the national reading-for-enjoyment campaign, is calling on all South Africans to join them in celebrating one of the most important dates in the literacy calendar, World Read Aloud Day, on Wednesday, 4 March,. Raising awareness of the importance of reading aloud for children’s literacy development, and attempting to break its read-aloud record from 2014, the campaign is asking adults across the country to read aloud the same story on the same day to the children in their lives. Each year, Nal’ibali commissions a new story to share on this day, and makes it available in all 11 official languages. This year’s story has been written by one of South Africa’s best-loved storytellers, Gcina Mhlophe.

“Last year, through a huge and wonderful collaboration between many partners – librarians, teachers, parents and NGOs, just under 48 000 children were read aloud to. This year we hope to break that record and share another day of reading and story with even more children and adults,” comments Carole Bloch, director of PRAESA (The Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa), which is driving the Nal’ibali campaign together with partners.

“Listening to a well read story, nourishes our minds by stimulating thoughts and ideas, and stimulating language,” continues Bloch. “It is also a great motivating force for children to feel the power of story and to want to learn to read,” she explains.

“And, it’s so important to share stories with children in their home languages because access to mother tongue literacy materials offers children the solid base from which to learn a second language, and other school subjects,” adds Smangele Mathebula, Nal’ibali Campaign Driver.

This year’s special World Read Aloud Day story, “Sisanda’s Gift”, will be issued in all 11 official South African languages and will be freely available for download (as a print or audio story) in any of these languages via the Nal’ibali website, mobisite and Mxit app from the end of February. Those participating will also be able to sign up on these platforms to share how many children they will be reading to.

The story, together with additional information and activities, will also appear in a special edition of the campaign’s weekly reading-for-enjoyment supplement. Produced in partnership with Times Media, the Nal’ibali supplement is the only bilingual literacy resource of its kind, offering literacy tips, stories and reading activities in English, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sesotho and Afrikaans. Broadcast partner, SABC Education, will also ensure that the story is read aloud on air in all official languages (see participating titles and stations below).

Further assisting the campaign to reach as many children as possible, the following partners have already signed up to help put the story in the hands of even more caregivers:

Corporate partners, South African Airways and Ackermans, will be distributing the story to their staff nationwide, reaching a collective of more than 17 000 staff members. For those who sign up to read the story via the Nal’ibali web- and mobisites, SAA has also donated a prize of two domestic airfare tickets for one lucky winner.

The Free State, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal arms of the Department of Basic Education will be ensuring the story is read aloud at schools in their respective provinces and access to relevant materials will be made available to all provincial departments.

The Family Literacy Project will be sharing the story with its KwaZulu-Natal based family literacy groups, while The Bookery, University of Cape Town’s Schools Improvement Initiative, Rotary District 9350 and False Bay College will be promoting and hosting read aloud sessions in the greater Western Cape. Sikhula Sonke, a community-based organisation addressing the need for quality early childhood development, and Harare Library, have also pledged to promote the event in Khayelitsha.

Fellow literacy organisation, The Shine Centre, as well the National Professional Teacher’s Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA) will also be distributing the story via their networks of teachers and volunteers. And, online, LIASA and the SA Booksellers Association will be promoting the day through their digital platforms and, FunDza will be offering the story to users via its mobile Mxit app. Global NGO, WorldReader, has committed to sharing it with its audiences in parts of the world that primarily have access to only low-end phones.

Finally, Nal’ibali Literacy Mentors will be hosting read-aloud sessions with members of the campaign’s network of over 300 reading clubs. And, giving her own special reading, Mhlophe will be visiting the Mbuyisa Makhubu Primary School Nal’ibali Reading Club and reading aloud to over 400 children at the school in Orlando West, Soweto.

“For me, the most important thing is for children to feel loved in many different ways and sharing a story with them is a beautiful way of showing that you care. Of course the secret is that reading for pleasure isn’t just fun for children, it feels tremendously good for us adults too!” shared Mhlope.

To sign-up, download, or to print out Nal’ibali’s special World Read Aloud Day story for yourself, your school, crèche, staff or others in your area, visit, or email


Book Details