The shortlists for the 2016 University of Johannesburg Prizes for South African Writing in English have been announced, with works of fiction, poetry, short stories, essays and biography all being recognised.
Approximately sixty works were submitted this year, and the following books have made the shortlists:
- Pleasure by Nthikeng Mohlele (Picador Africa)
- The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso (Penguin Random House)
- Sigh the Beloved Country by Bongani Madondo (Picador Africa)
- The Yearning by Mohale Mashigo (Picador Africa)
- Loud and Yellow Laughter by Sindiswa Busuku-Mathese (Botsotso)
- Tjieng Tjang Tjerries and other stories by Jolyn Phillips (Modjaji Books)
- The Keeper of the Kumm by Sylvia Vollenhoven (Tafelberg)
Unlike most literary awards, the UJ Prizes are not linked to a specific genre, which, according to the judging panel, makes the evaluation ‘more challenging’, as a volume of poetry, a novel and a biographical work may have to be measured against one another. However, the idea is to ‘open the prize to as many forms of creative writing as possible’.
The UJ Main Prize comes with prize money of R75 000, the Debut Prize with R30 000.
Last year the awards were won by Craig Higginson, who won the Main Prize for his novel The Dream House, with the Debut Prize being shared by Eliza Kentridge, for her poetry collection Signs for an Exhibition, and Nkosinathi Sithole, for his novel Hunger Eats a Man.
Previous winners include Zakes Mda, Penny Busetto, Lauren Beukes, Dominique Botha, Ken Barris and Steven Boykey Sidley.
The adjudication panel this year is:
- Sikumbuzo Mngadi (UJ)
- Ronit Frenkel (UJ)
- Danyela Demir (UJ)
- Nyasha Mboti (UJ)
- Michael Titlestad (Wits)
- Rebecca Fasselt (UP)