The longlists for the 2022 Sunday Times Literary Awards have been revealed.
The two awards—the Non-fiction Award and the Fiction Prize—celebrate ‘the best of South African non-fiction and fiction’ from the previous year. Each winner receives R100,000, marking the award as one of the richest literary prizes on the continent.
The awards have a new keynote sponsor this year in Exclusive Books.
This year marks the thirty-second anniversary of the Non-fiction Award, which will be judged by Griffin Shea (chair), Nomavenda Mathiane and Bongani Ngqulunga (more information on this year’s judges below). The prize criteria states: ‘The winner should demonstrate the illumination of truthfulness, especially those forms of it that are new, delicate, unfashionable and fly in the face of power; compassion; elegance of writing; and intellectual and moral integrity.
The twenty-first annual Fiction Prize will be judged by Ekow Duker (chair), Kevin Ritchie and Nomboniso Gasa. The 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’.
2022 Fiction Prize longlist
- Go Away Birds by Michelle Edwards (Modjaji)
- The Heart Is the Size of a Fist by PP Fourie (Kwela)
- The Cape Raider by Justin Fox (Penguin Fiction)
- The Promise by Damon Galgut (Umuzi)
- The Tearoom by Gretchen Haley (Penguin Fiction)
- Sanity Prevail by Perfect Hlongwane (Blackbird Books)
- You Never Really Know by John Hunt (Umuzi)
- An Island by Karen Jennings (Karavan Press)
- Children of Sugarcane by Joanne Joseph (Jonathan Ball Publishers)
- If You Save Me by Lisa-Anne Julien (Kwela Books)
- Suitcase of Memory by A’Eysha Kassiem (Kwela)
- The Lost Language of the Soul by Mandla Langa (Picador Africa)
- At the Edge of the Desert by Basil Lawrence (Penguin Fiction)
- When the Village Sleeps by Sindiwe Magona (Picador Africa)
- Invisible Strings by Naledi Mashishi (Blackbird Books)
- Wayfarers’ Hymns by Zakes Mda (Umuzi)
- Junx by Tshidiso Moletsane (Umuzi)
- All Gomorrahs Are The Same by Thenjiwe Mswane (Blackbird Books)
- A Hibiscus Coast by Nick Mulgrew (Karavan Press)
- The Wanderers by Mphuthumi Ntabeni (Kwela)
- They Got to You Too by Futhi Ntshingila (Pan Macmillan)
- Limerence by Vincent Pienaar (Penguin Fiction)
- Isle by Claire Robertson (Umuzi)
- The Artist Vanishes by Terry Westby-Nunn (Penguin Fiction)
- Dreaming in Colour by Uvile Ximba (Modjaji)
2022 Non-fiction Award longlist
- Bloody Sunday: The Nun, the Defiance Campaign and South Africa’s Secret Massacre by Mignonne Breier (Tafelberg)
- Scatterling of Africa: My Early Years by Johnny Clegg (Pan Macmillan)
- The Poisoners: On South Africa’s Toxic Past by Imraan Coovadia (Umuzi)
- Out of Quatro: From Exile to Exoneration by Luthando Dyasop (Kwela)
- Ougat: From a Hoe Into a Housewife and Then Some by Shana Fife (Jonathan Ball Publishers)
- Female Fear Factory by Pumla Dineo Gqola (Melinda Ferguson Books)
- Waterboy: Making Sense of My Son’s Suicide by Glynis Horning (Bookstorm)
- How I Accidentally Became a Global Stock Photo and Other Strange and Wonderful Stories by Shubnum Khan (Pan Macmillan)
- The Profiler Diaries: From the Case Files of a Police Psychologist by Gérard Labuschagne (Penguin Non-fiction)
- Red Road to Freedom: A History of the South African Communist Party 1921-2021 by Tom Lodge (Jacana Media)
- Nation on the Couch: Inside South Africa’s Mind by Wahbie Long (Melinda Ferguson Books)
- Searching for Sarah: The Woman Who Loved Langenhoven by Dominique Malherbe (Tafelberg)
- Poli Poli: A Memoir by Barbara Masekela (Jonathan Ball Publishers)
- You Have Struck a Rock: Women Fighting for their Power in South Africa by Gugulethu Mhlungu (Kwela)
- Native Boy: Confessions of a Maplazini in the City by Thabo A. Molefe (Jonathan Ball Publishers)
- The Scandalous Times of a Book Louse by Robert Muponde (Penguin Non-fiction)
- Native Merchants: The Building of the Black Business Class in South Africa by Phakamisa Ndzamela (Tafelberg)
- Escape from Lubumbashi: A Refugee’s Journey on Foot to Reunite Her Family by Estelle Neethling (Unisa)
- Land Matters: South Africa’s Failed Land Reforms and the Road Ahead by Tembeka Ngcukaitobi (Penguin Non-fiction)
- Boiling a Frog Slowly: A Memoir Of Love Gone Wrong by Cathy Park Kelly (Karavan Press)
- The Skipper’s Daughter by Nancy Richards (Karavan Press)
- Give Us More Guns: How South Africa’s Gangs were Armed by Mark Shaw (Jonathan Ball Publishers)
- History of South Africa: From 1902 to the Present by Thula Simpson (Penguin Non-fiction)
- How I Lost My Mother: A Story of Life, Care and Dying by Leslie Swartz (Wits Press)
- The Boy Who Never Gave Up: A Refugee’s Epic Journey to Triumph by Emmanuel Taban (Jonathan Ball Publishers)
- A Home on Vorster Street: A Memoir by Razina Theba (Jonathan Ball Publishers)
- Into Dark Water: A Police Memoir by Jeremy Vearey (Tafelberg)
- Joining the Dots: An Unauthorised Biography of Pravin Gordhan by Chris Whitfield and Jonathan Ancer (Jonathan Ball Publishers)
- Deep Collusion: Bain and the Capture of South Africa by Athol Williams (Tafelberg)
Last year’s Sunday Times Literary Award winners were Marguerite Poland, who won the Fiction Award for her novel A Sin of Omission, and Andrew Harding, who won the Non-fiction Prize for his book These Are Not Gentle People.
Fiction Prize judges
Ekow Duker – Chair: An oil-field engineer turned banker turned writer, Ekow Duker grew up in Ghana, studied in the United Kingdom, the United States and France, and now lives and works in Joburg. His debut novels, White Wahala and Dying in New York, were published in 2014 and were followed in 2016 by The God Who Made Mistakes and in 2019 by his fourth and most ambitious novel, Yellowbone.
Kevin Ritchie: Ritchie spent twenty-seven years at what is today Independent Media, including editing the company’s smallest daily newspaper, the Diamond Fields Advertiser in Kimberley, and its flagship, The Star, in Joburg. He received several journalism awards during his career and wrote the two-volume Reporting the Courts: A Handbook for South African Journalists. He also co-authored The A-Z of South African Politics (Jacana 2019). After leaving journalism in 2018, Ritchie founded a media consultancy which provides communication services, training for journalists and communicators and coaching for editors and CEOs. He writes a syndicated weekly opinion column in the Saturday Star.
Nomboniso Gasa: Writer and political analyst Gasa is a research fellow at the Centre for Law and Society and Adjunct Professor at the School of Public Law at the University of Cape Town. In the early nineteen-nineties, Gasa was part of the ANC’s Commission for the Women’s Emancipation of Women. Gasa has been published widely in newspapers and academic journals, including Women in South African History (HSRC), which she edited in 2007. She has sat in several public positions, including the Commission for Gender Equality, Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and Development Bank of Southern Africa. Gasa has a long history in politics, feminism and women’s rights activism extending to her teenage years which saw her arrested several times by the apartheid government.
Non-fiction Award judges
Griffin Shea – Chair: Shea is the founder of Bridge Books, an independent bookstore in downtown Johannesburg, and the author of a young adult novel, The Golden Rhino. Bridge Books focuses on African literature and on finding new ways of getting books to readers. The store’s non-profit African Book Trust is the lead partner in the Literary District project, a collaboration among booksellers, city agencies, businesses and other volunteers. Before opening Bridge Books, Griffin worked as a journalist for fifteen years, mostly with the international news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Nomavenda Mathiane: Mathiane has been a journalist for over thirty-five years. Her writing career began in 1975 as a reporter at the World Newspapers and she later joined Frontline magazine, where she specialised in writing about life in South African townships. Since then she has worked for most of the major South African newspapers. Her last journalism job was writing for Business Day as the legislature reporter. Mathiane has written three books: Beyond the Headlines, South Africa: Diary of Troubled Times and Eyes in the Night: An Untold Zulu Story. She currently teaches isiZulu at a private primary school.
Bongani Ngqulunga: Ngqulunga is with the University of Johannesburg where he currently serves as director of the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (JIAS). He is the author of The Man Who Founded the ANC: A Biography of Pixley ka Isaka Seme, which won multiple awards, including the Sunday Times Non-Fiction Award in 2018. Ngqulunga was educated at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and at Brown University in the US, where he obtained a doctoral degree.