[The JRB Daily] 2018 South African Literary Awards winners announced—Mongane Wally Serote is South Africa’s new Poet Laureate

Header image taken by Victor Dlamini

Mongane Wally Serote has been announced as South Africa’s new Poet Laureate at the 2018 South African Literary Awards ceremony.

Serote becomes South Africa’s third poet laureate, after Mazisi Kunene and Keorapetse Kgositsile, who died in January.

Now in their thirteenth year, the SALAs are awarded annually by the wRite Associates and the Department of Arts and Culture to celebrate literary excellence in all the languages of South Africa.

Twenty-three authors were shortlisted this year, from a total of just under two hundred submissions, and two additional award categories were announced: the Novel Award and the Children’s Literature Award.

Each award category winner receives a trophy, certificate and R30,000 prize money. The Poet Laureate is awarded R100,000.

Hermann Giliomee and Ronnie Kasrils were honoured with Lifetime Achievement Literary Awards, while photographer Peter Magubane received the Chairperson’s Award. Leon Rousseau and SM Mofokeng were honoured with Posthumous Literary Awards.

Dan Sleigh won the inaugural Novel Award for his book 1795, while Malebo Sephodi took home the First-time Published Author Award for her memoir Miss Behave.

The Poetry Award went to Kelwyn Sole for his collection Walking, Falling.

The Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award was jointly awarded to Nick Mulgrew, for The First Law of Sadness, and Nicole Jaekel Strauss for As in die mond.

There were no nominations this year for the K Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award, for novels written by authors under forty.

Morakabe Seakhoa, SALA project director, says: ‘The main aim of the South African Literary Awards is to pay tribute to South African writers who have distinguished themselves as groundbreaking producers and creators of literature, while it celebrates literary excellence in the depiction and sharing of South Africa’s histories, value systems and philosophies and art as inscribed and preserved in all the languages of South Africa, particularly the official languages.

‘SALA continue continues to remain prestigious and respected literary accolades in the South African literary landscape.’

Serote received a standing ovation:

2018 South African Literary Awards winners

Category: Children’s Literature Award

Marilyn J HonikmanThere Should Have Been FiveEnglish
Jaco JacobsDaar is nie ʼn krokodil in hierdie boek nieAfrikaans
Jaco JacobsMoenie hierdie boek eet nie!Afrikaans

Category: Novel Award

AuthorBook titleLanguage
Dan Sleigh1795Afrikaans

Category: First-time Published Author Award

AuthorBook titleLanguage
Malebo SephodiMiss BehaveEnglish

Category: Literary Journalism Award

Sam Mathe

Category: Poetry Award

AuthorBook titleLanguage
Kelwyn SoleWalking, FallingEnglish

Category: Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award

AuthorBook titleLanguage
Nick MulgrewThe First Law of SadnessEnglish
Nicole Jaekel StraussAs in die mondAfrikaans

Category: Creative Non-fiction Award

AuthorBook titleLanguage
Jurgen SchadebergThe Way I See ItEnglish

Category: Literary Translators Award

AuthorBook titleLanguage
Jeff Opland and Peter MtuzeUmoya Wembongi: Collected Poems 1922–1935) by John SoliloisiXhosa to English

Category: Posthumous Literary Award

Leon Rousseau and SM Mofokeng

Category: Chairperson’s Award

Peter Magubane

Category: Lifetime Achievement Literary Award

AuthorBook titleLanguage
Hermann GiliomeeBody of workAfrikaans
Ronnie KasrilsBody of workEnglish

Category: National Poet Laureate

Mongane Wally Serote


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