The shortlists for the 2017 University of Johannesburg Prizes for South African Writing in English have been announced.
Unlike most literary awards, the UJ Prizes are not linked to a specific genre, as, according to the organisers, the idea is to ‘open the prize to as many forms of creative writing as possible’. Last year the shortlists included works of fiction, poetry, short stories, essays and biography. This year, however, the spotlight is on novels, with the exception of Sara-Jayne King’s memoir Killing Karoline.
Approximately sixty works were submitted this year, from which the following books have been selected for the shortlists:
- Dancing the Death Drill by Fred Khumalo
- Bird-Monk Seding by Lesego Rampolokeng
- New Times by Rehana Rossouw
- The Inside-Out Man by Fred Strydom
- Grace by Barbara Boswell
- Killing Karoline by Sara-Jayne King
The UJ Main Prize comes with prize money of R75,000, the Debut Prize with R30,000.
Last year’s awards went to Nthikeng Mohlele, who won the Main Prize for his novel Pleasure, and Mohale Mashigo, who was awarded the Debut Prize for her novel The Yearning.
Previous winners include Craig Higginson, Eliza Kentridge, Nkosinathi Sithole, Zakes Mda, Penny Busetto, Lauren Beukes, Dominique Botha, Ken Barris and Steven Boykey Sidley.
The adjudication panel this year is:
- Sikhumbuzo Mngadi (UJ)
- Ronit Frenkel (UJ)
- Danyela Demir (UJ)
- Rebecca Fasselt (UP)
- Bridget Grogan (UJ)
- Nyasha Mboti (UJ)
- Thabo Tsehloane (UJ)
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