The winners of the University of Johannesburg Prizes for South African Writing in English have been announced—and it’s a clean sweep for Jacana Media, with all three titles coming from the Johannesburg-based publisher.
The 2021 edition of the prize celebrates works published in 2020.
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, Jacob Dlamini, will receive R70,000, while the UJ Debut Prize comes with prize money of R35,000, which this year will be shared between Rešoketšwe Manenzhe and Jamil F Khan.
Approximately sixty works were submitted this year.
Jacana Media is offering a celebratory discount on the winning books: 50% off until midnight, Friday 15 October 2021. Use coupon code UJPrize50 at checkout here.
2021 UJ Main Prize winner: Jacob Dlamini, Safari Nation
2021 UJ Debut Prize joint winners: Rešoketšwe Manenzhe, Scatterlings and Jamil F Khan, Khamr: The Making of a Waterslams
See the shortlisted authors here.
The adjudication panel comprised the following judges:
- Sikhumbuzo Mngadi (chair)
- Ronit Frenkel (coordinator)
- Thabo Tsehloane
- Minesh Dass
- Rebecca Fasselt
There was no prize awarded in 2020. In 2019, Gabeba Baderoon won the Main Prize for her book of poems The History of Intimacy, and Mphuthumi Ntabeni was awarded the Debut Prize for his novel The Broken River Tent.
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