The winners of the 2023 South African Literary Awards (the SALAs) have been announced.
The SALAs are awarded annually by the wRite Associates and the Department of Arts and Culture to celebrate literary excellence in all the languages of South Africa.
The winning writers were announced in a ceremony in Potchefstroom on 7 November 2023, International African Writers Day.
The SALA ceremony formed part of the eleventh annual Africa Century International African Writers Conference, which ran this year under the theme ‘Decolonisation and Decoloniality: African Letters Return to the Source’. Ibrahima Aya, the Malian author, editor, agronomist, co-founder of publishing house Éditions Tombouctou and co-founder and director of the literary festival Rentree Litteraire du Mali, delivered the International African Writers Day Lecture.
The SALAs seek to
pay tribute to South African writers who have distinguished themselves as groundbreaking producers and creators of literature, while celebrating literary excellence in the depiction and sharing of South Africa’s histories, value systems, philosophies and art as inscribed and preserved in all the official languages of South Africa.
2023 South African Literary Awards winners
Children’s Literature Award winners
- Claudette Browne Storrar, Nelly and Sam Thwala
- Molebatsi Bosilong, Montsane le Motho
- Philip de Vos, Tokkelossiebossie en ander dol gedoentes
- Sinathi Mpukwana, Unakho
Youth Literature Award
- Onke Mazibuko, The Second Verse
- Mihlali Blackie, Ukuzazi Ukuzithemba Nokuzamkela
- Kobate John Sekele, Makgoma a Dihlong
- Annelie Ferreira, Dit het alles begin by ’n hond
First-Time Published Author Award
- Shevlyn Mottai, Across the Kala Pani
- Ntloro Charlotte Pebane, Lerato la Lepheko
- Ayanda Chris Mntwapi, Bohlulwe Kukusa
K Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award
- Dimakatso David Mokwena, Here Comes the Gay King
- Michèle Betty, Dark Horse
- Anelisa Thengimfene, Amajingiqhiw’entlalo
- Kaka Mokakale, Tswina ya Poko
Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award
- Terry-Ann Adams, White Chalk
Creative Non-Fiction Award
- Mandla J Radebe, The Lost Prince of the ANC: The Life and Times of Jabulani Nobleman ‘Mzala’ Nxumalo
- Siphiwo Mahala, Can Themba: The Making and Breaking of the Intellectual Tsotsi, a Biography
- Thivhusiwi G Tshindane Tshivhula, Hone Hu Tshi Tea U Maliwa Nga Vhugai?
- Kobate John Sekele, Re Hwile la Pitsana
- Sue Nyathi, An Angel’s Demise
Posthumous Literary Award
- Seetsele Modiri Molema, Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje: Morata Baabo
Chairperson’s Literary Award
- Elinor Sisulu – Body of Work
Lifetime Achievement Literary Award
- Pitika Ntuli – Body of Work
- Diana Ferrus – Body of Work
Congratulations to all the winners.
Entries for next years’ South African Literary Awards will open on 17 November 2023.