Nathan Trantraal has been announced as the winner of the 2023 Philida Literary Award.
The prize, established by Karina M Szczurek in 2020, in memory of her late husband, the renowned author André Brink, is awarded to a writer mid-career for ‘an oeuvre of literary excellence’. The award was announced yesterday, on the eighth anniversary of Brink’s death.
The prize ‘recognises a writer with a consistent record of publishing works of excellence and aims to encourage them further in their pursuit of a literary career’.
Trantraal is the author of three poetry collections—Chokers en Survivors (2013), which won the 2014 AKTV Woordfees Prize and the 2015 Ingrid Jonker Prize; Alles Het Niet Kom Wôd (2017), which won a South African Literary Award in 2019; and Oolog (2020)—as well as a volume of essays, Wit Issie ’n Colour Nie (2018). He translated Jason Reynolds’s Long Way Down into Kaaps (Lang Pad Onnetoe), winning the 2021 UJ Literary Prize for the Translation of Youth Texts. He writes for television and theatre and has a biweekly column for Rapport called ‘Sypaadjies’.
Trantraal has also illustrated four graphic novels (Stormkaap, Coloureds, Crossroads and All Rise) and has worked as a cartoonist for the Cape Times (The Richenbaums), the Cape Argus (Urban Tribe) and Rapport (Ruthie). His comic art has been exhibited in Hamburg, Amsterdam and Cape Town. He currently works as an illustrator for Vrye Weekblad.
With his partner Ronelda S Kamfer, he worked on a series called ‘Portraits’ for Vrye Weekblad about the ordinary lives of South Africans during the coronavirus pandemic. He is an editor reviewer and freelance book cover designer. His poetry has been translated into English, French and Modern Greek.
On accepting the Philida Literary Award, Trantraal said: ‘I am grateful and honoured. My thanks to all the judges.’
The 2023 Philida Award judging panel was Sally Partridge, Karina M Szczurek, Lester Walbrugh and Christy Weyer.