Header image: Mandla Langa, A’Eysha Kassiem and Lisa-Anne Julien
The winners of the University of Johannesburg Prizes for South African Writing in English have been announced.
The 2022 edition of the prize celebrates works published in 2021.
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, Mandla Langa, will receive R70,000, while the UJ Debut Prize comes with prize money of R35,000, which this year will be shared between A’Eysha Kassiem and Lisa-Anne Julien.
Approximately sixty books were submitted for the prize this year.
2022 UJ Main Prize winner: Mandla Langa, for The Lost Language of the Soul
2022 UJ Debut Prize joint winners: A’Eysha Kassiem, for Suitcase of Memory, and Lisa-Anne Julien, for If You Save Me
The University of Johannesburg has also announced that Dr Siphiwo Mahala will be taking over as the coordinator of the prize going forward.
The adjudication panel comprised the following judges:
- Sikhumbuzo Mngadi (chair)
- Ronit Frenkel (coordinator)
- Thabo Tsehloane
- Minesh Dass
- Marzia Milazzo
- Rebecca Fasselt
Last year’s UJ Main Prize winner was Jacob Dlamini, for Safari Nation, while the UJ Debut Prize was shared between Rešoketšwe Manenzhe, for Scatterlings, and Jamil F Khan, for Khamr: The Making of a Waterslams.