[The JRB Daily] Shortlists announced for 2023 UJ Prizes for South African Writing in English

The shortlists for the annual University of Johannesburg Prizes for South African Writing in English have been announced.

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’.

The UJ Main Prize winner will receive R70,000, while the UJ Debut Prize comes with prize money of R35,000.

‘We received a record number of entries this year,’ prize coordinator Dr Siphiwo Mahala reports, adding that the adjudication process was ‘rigorous’.

Debut Prize

  • Boy on the Run (memoir) by Welcome Mandla Lishivha
  • The Other Me by (novel) Joy Watson
  • Things My Mother Left Me (novel) by Pulane Mpondo

Main Prize

  • An Angel’s Demise (novel) by Sue Nyathi
  • Greyheart (poetry) by Lesego Rampolokeng
  • How to Be a Revolutionary (novel) by CA Davids

The panel of judges, drawn from three different universities around South Africa, selected these six titles from more than one hundred entries. ‘The overwhelming response to the prize is indicative of the growth and diversity of South African writing,’ says Professor Ronit Frenkel, chairperson of judges and Head of the English Department at the University of Johannesburg.

This year’s prize judges are:

Prof. Ronit Frenkel (Chair), UJ
Prof. Sikhumbuzo Mngadi, UJ
Prof. Nedine Moonsamy, UJ (formerly UP)
Dr Thabo Tšehloane, UJ
Prof. Grace Musila, Wits
Dr Rebecca Fasselt, UP
Prof. Marzia Milazzo, UJ

The winners will be announced on 14 September 2023.

Last year’s UJ Main Prize winner was Mandla Langa, for The Lost Language of the Soul, while the UJ Debut Prize was shared between A’Eysha Kassiem, for Suitcase of Memory, and Lisa-Anne Julien, for If You Save Me.

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