[The JRB Daily] Bulelwa Mabasa and CA Davids win the 2023 Sunday Times Literary Awards

The winners of the 2023 Sunday Times Literary Awards have been announced.

Bulelwa Mabasa has won the Non-fiction Award for her book My Land Obsession: A Memoir, and CA Davids is the winner of the Fiction Prize for her novel How to Be a Revolutionary.

The winners were announced at an in-person event in Parktown, Johannesburg.

The awards celebrate ‘the best of South African non-fiction and fiction’ from the previous year. This year marks the 33rd anniversary of the non-fiction award, and the 22nd year of the fiction prize. Each winner receives R100,000, marking the award as one of the richest literary prizes on the continent.

For the Non-fiction Award, the criteria is: ‘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 Non-fiction Award judges, Duma Gqubule (chair), Judy Dlamini and Julian Rademeyer, described My Land Obsession as ‘an engaging memoir’ : ‘It’s inspirational, factual and relevant with many angles that define our past going back generations.’

For the Fiction Award, the criteria is: ‘The winner should be a novel of rare imagination and style, evocative, textured and a tale so compelling as to become an enduring landmark of contemporary fiction.’

The Fiction Prize judges, Ekow Duker (chair), Kevin Ritchie and Nomboniso Gasa, described How to Be a Revolutionary as ‘masterful’: ‘A fascinating book made up of three different stories, to create a whole that is increasingly relevant in a multi-polar world where people’s pasts have to be grappled with to be made sense of.’

Last year’s Sunday Times Literary Award winners were Mignonne Breier, who won the Non-fiction Award for her book Bloody Sunday: The Nun, the Defiance Campaign and South Africa’s Secret Massacre, and Tshidiso Moletsane, Fiction Prize winner for his novel Junx.

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