Press release: 2018 Sunday Times Literary Awards shortlist finalists announced

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Johannesburg, 13 May 2018:  The Sunday Times Literary Awards shortlists for the Alan Paton Award for non-fiction, and the Barry Ronge Fiction Prize, have been announced. Five authors in each category were celebrated at a stylish event held at The Empire venue in Parktown on Saturday 12 May 2018. The Sunday Times Literary Awards are considered the most prestigious literary accolade in South Africa.

Jennifer Platt, Sunday Times Books editor, says: “These 10 books are sounding one loud gong for South Africa. These stories and histories, tales of yesteryear and today, reflections of our own individual past and present, are adding to the much-needed conversation that we have to start to get things right.”

Alan Paton Award for non-fiction

Now in its 29th year, the Alan Paton Award recognises exceptional non-fiction writing and will be bestowed on a book that presents “the illumination of truthfulness, especially those forms of it that are new, delicate, unfashionable and fly in the face of power”, and that demonstrates “compassion, elegance of writing, and intellectual and moral integrity.”

The shortlist finalists for the 2018 Alan Paton Award are:

  • Kingdom, Power, Glory: Mugabe, Zanu and the Quest for Supremacy, 1960–1987 by Stuart Doran, Bookstorm
  • No Longer Whispering to Power: The Story of Thuli Madonsela by Thandeka Gqubule, Jonathan Ball Publishers
  • Always Another Country: A Memoir of Exile and Home by Sisonke Msimang, Jonathan Ball Publishers
  • The Man Who Founded the ANC: A Biography of Pixley ka Isaka Seme by Bongani Ngqulunga, Penguin Books
  • Colour Me Yellow: Searching for My Family Truth by Thuli Nhlapo, Kwela

Shortlisted authors for the 2018 Allan Paton Award: Sisonke Msimang, Bongani Ngqulunga, Thuli Nhlapo, Bongani Siqoko (editor of the Sunday Times), Thandeka Gquleka and Russel Clarke from Bookstorm representing Stuart Doran (Picture: Masi Losi)

The Alan Paton adjudication panel consists of Constitutional Court judge Edwin Cameron; journalist Paddi Clay; and is chaired by award-winning writer, journalist and filmmaker, Sylvia Vollenhoven.

Vollenhoven says of the shortlist finalists: “The collective power and style of the five authors (three of them women) on this year’s shortlist represent the finest artistic vision for the future. Literary flair is coupled with excellent research that takes us into places we need to visit."

The Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Prize

This is the 18th year of the Sunday Times fiction prize, named for Barry Ronge, arts commentator and one of the founders of the Sunday Times Literary Awards. Criteria in this fiction category stipulate that the winning novel should be one of “rare imagination and style ... a tale so compelling as to become an enduring landmark of contemporary fiction.”

The shortlist finalists for the 2018 Barry Ronge Fiction Prize are:

  • Softness of the Lime by Maxine Case, Umuzi
  • A Thousand Tales of Johannesburg by Harry Kalmer, Penguin Books
  • The Third Reel by SJ Naudé, Umuzi
  • Bird-Monk Seding by Lesego Rampolokeng, Deep South Publishers
  • The Camp Whore by Francois Smith, translated by Dominique Botha, Tafelberg

Shortlisted authors for the 2018 Barry Ronge Fiction Prize: Eloise Wessels from NB Publishers representing Francois Smith, Danyela Demir representing Lesego Rampolekeng, Bongani Siqoko (editor of the Sunday Times), Maxine Case, SJ Naude, and Harry Kalmer (Picture: Masi Losi)

The Fiction Prize panel is chaired by popular radio personality, Africa Melane, alongside Love Books owner Kate Rogan and award-winning writer Ken Barris.

"The authors on this list help us search for truth, which is often unsettling and uncomfortable. There are stories of love and loss, of lives not yet lived and those long forgotten. The works are thought-provoking, unflinching and disturbing at times, but very compelling,” says Melane.

The winners at the Sunday Times Literary Awards will be announced at an event in Johannesburg on 23 June 2018.  Recipients of the 2018 Alan Paton Award and Barry Ronge Fiction Prize will each receive R100 000.

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