The shortlists for the University of Johannesburg Prizes for South African Writing in English have been announced.
The 2019 edition of the prize celebrates works published in 2018.
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’.
‘This may make the evaluation more challenging,’ the prize organisers say, ‘in the sense that, for example, a volume of poetry, a novel and a biographical work must be measured against one another, but the idea is to open the prize to as many forms of creative writing as possible.’
The UJ Main Prize winner will receive R70,000, while the UJ Debut Prize comes with R35,000.
Approximately sixty works were submitted for the award this year.
UJ Main Prize shortlist
- The Ones With Purpose by Nozizwe Cynthia Jele
- The History of Intimacy by Gabeba Baderoon
- A Spy in Time by Imraan Coovadia
UJ Debut Prize shortlist
- An Image in a Mirror by Ijangolet S Ogwang
- The Broken River Tent by Mphuthumi Ntabeni
- The Theory of Flight by Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu
- You Have to be Gay to Know God by Siya Khumalo
The adjudication panel comprised the following judges:
- Sikumbuzo Mngadi (chair)
- Ronit Frenkel (coordinator)
- Victoria Collis-Buthelezi
- Thabo Tsehloane
- Bridget Grogan
- Rebecca Fasselt
Last year, Lesego Rampolokeng won the Main Prize for his novel Bird-Monk Seding (Deep South Publishers), while Barbara Boswell was awarded the Debut Prize for her novel Grace (Modjaji Books).