[The JRB Daily] 2018 Barry Ronge Fiction Prize longlist announced

The 2018 Sunday Times Literary Awards longlists have been announced!

The awards celebrate ‘the best of South African non-fiction and fiction’ from the previous year. The winners each receive R100 000.

The Barry Ronge Fiction Prize criteria stipulate that the winning novel should be one of ‘rare imagination and style … a tale so compelling as to become an enduring landmark of contemporary fiction’. 

Last year’s Barry Ronge winner was Zakes Mda, for his novel Little Suns.

This year’s longlist of twenty-five novels was selected by judges Africa Melane (chair), Kate Rogan and Ken Barris. The shortlists will be announced in May.

Melane says, in the Sunday Times announcement:

South African novelists have once again demonstrated their creative power. This year’s longlist invites the reader to tussle with uncomfortable questions of politics, loss, greed, mythology, heroism and trauma. Vivid storytelling and unflinching characterisation help us to explore vulnerabilities in our quest for love, justice, kindness and compassion. 

What particularly stands out is the inspiration drawn from the complicated relationship between fact and fiction. Some of the authors deftly draw us in to grapple with contemporary South African isues of corruption, greed and gender disparity. Others bravely take us on a tour of an unkind history and give us a new lens through which to examine our reflections.

Many of the stories are deeply personal, allowing the reader to resonate, on a human level, with the characters’ innermost fears, secret fantasies and darkest sins. The novels will compel you to examine your humanity, question your unease and define your aspirations. The longlist lays bare the complex and confused time we live in.

What an incredible joy and honour to have delighted in these stories that pierce our hearts. It is going to be very difficult to choose one winner.

2018 Barry Ronge Fiction Prize longlist

  • Selling LipService, Tammy Baikie (Jacana Media)
  • Grace, Barbara Boswell (Modjaji Books)
  • A Handful of Earth, Simon Bruinders (Penguin Books)
  • Softness of the Lime, Maxine Case (Umuzi)
  • Dikeledi, Achmat Dangor (Picador Africa)
  • Accident, Dawn Garisch (Modjaji Books)
  • Bare Ground, Peter Harris (Picador Africa)
  • I am Pandarus, Michiel Heyns (Jonathan Ball Publishers)
  • A Thousand Tales of Johannesburg, Harry Kalmer (Penguin Books)
  • Dancing the Death Drill, Fred Khumalo (Umuzi)
  • Asylum, Marcus Low (Picador Africa)
  • The Blessed Girl, Angela Makholwa (Pan Macmillan)
  • Johannesburg, Fiona Melrose (Little, Brown)
  • The Last Stop, Thabiso Mofokeng (BlackBird Books)
  • The Third Reel, SJ Naudé (Umuzi)
  • If I Stay Right Here, Chwayita Ngamlana (BlackBird Books)
  • Unpresidented, Paige Nick (B&N)
  • Imitation, Leonard Praeg (UKZN Press)
  • Bird-Monk Seding, Lesego Rampolokeng (Deep South)
  • New Times, Rehana Rossouw (Jacana Media)
  • The Camp Whore, Francois Smith, translated by Dominique Botha (Tafelberg)
  • Spire, Fiona Snyckers (Clockwork Books)
  • Son/Seun, Neil Sonnekus (MF Books Joburg)
  • A Gap in the Hedge, Johan Vlok Louw (Umuzi)
  • The Shallows, Ingrid Winterbach, translated by Michiel Heyns (Human & Rousseau)

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