Press release: 2019 South African Literary Awards nominees announced

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The South African Literary Awards (SALA) have shortlisted 26 authors in 13 awards categories for this year’s awards. The winners will be announced at a glittering awards ceremony on the 7th November at Ditsong National Museum of Cultural History.

These prestigious Awards will be preceded by the 8th Africa Century International African Writers Conference whose International African Writers Day Lecture will be delivered by Mandla Makhanya, Principal and Vice Chancellor at the University of South Africa.

To be delivered under the theme “Africa Writing in Tongues: Towards Social, Political, Heritage and Cultural Justice”, the theme is in line with UNESCO’s International Year of Indigenous Languages (IY2019). For more information and registration for attendance, please visit

Now in their fourteenth year, the SALAs are awarded annually by the wRite Associates in partnership with the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture to celebrate literary excellence in all the languages of South Africa.

Morakabe Seakhoa, SALA project director, says: “The main aim of the South African Literary Awards is to pay tribute to South African writers who have distinguished themselves as ground-breaking producers and creators of literature, while it celebrates literary excellence in the depiction and sharing of South Africa’s histories, value systems and philosophies and art as inscribed and preserved in all the languages of South Africa, particularly the official languages.”

The SA Literary Awards have become the most prestigious and respected literary accolades in the South African literary landscape. SALA prides itself in not only acknowledging established authors but as a platform to budding writers through the First-time Published Author Award category.

SALA has also expanded its categories to include Children’s and Youth Literature categories. A very significant move by SALA as this will encourage acknowledgement of writers writing for children while it encourages reading and appreciation of literature from an early age.

“More work is still to be done though to cultivate more writing in our African languages,” concluded Seakhoa.

2019 Shortlist
1. Children’s Literature Award  
Author Title of book/publication Language
Lebohang Masango Mpumi’s Magic Beads English
Jaco Jacobs Rondomtalie Afrikaans
2. Youth Literature Award   
Author  Title of book/publication Language
Sally Partridge  Mine English
Marion Erskine Vlerke vir almal Afrikaans
3. First-time Published Author Award       
Author  Title of book/publication Language
Bongani Ngqulunga The Man Who Founded The ANC English
Rekgotsofetse Chikane Breaking a Rainbow, Building a Nation: The Politics behind #MustFall Movements English
Lodewyk G. du Plessis Die dao van Daan van der Walt Afrikaans
4. Poetry Award
Author Title of book/publication Language
Tony Ullyatt  An Unobtrusive Vice English
Willie van der Merwe Doodmenslik Afrikaans
Nathan Trantraal Alles het niet kom wôd Afrikaans
Ayanda  Billie  Umhlaba Umanzi isiXhosa
5. Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award  
Author Title of book/publication Language
Chase Rhys Kinnes Afrikaans
6. Novel Award
Author Title of book/publication Language
Charl-Pierre Naudé Die ongelooflike onskuld van Dirkie Verwey Afrikaans
Sabata-mpho Mokae Moletlo Wa Manong Setswana
Ingrid Winterbach Die troebel tyd Afrikaans
7. Nadine Gordimer Short-Story Award
Author Title of book/publication Language
Ken Barris  The life of Worm & other misconceptions English
Niq Mhlongo SowetoUnder the Apricot Tree  English
8. Creative Non-Fiction Literary Award
Author  Title of book/publication Language
Sylvia Neame Imprisoned English
Jonathan Jansen  As by Fire English
Jeremy Vearey Jeremy vannie Elsies Afrikaans
9. Literary Translator’s Award
Author  Title of book/publication Language
Dominique Botha

Original: Kamphoer

Translation: The Camp Whore



Michiel Heyns

Original: Buys

Translation: Red Dog



10. Literary Journalism Award
Author  Title of book/publication Language
Jennifer Malec Body of work English

Wamuwi Mbao

Body of work English
11. Lifetime Achievement Award
Author Title of book/publication Language

Louise Smit

Body of work Afrikaans
Cornelius Tennyson Daniel (CTD) Marivate Body of work Xitsonga
12. Posthumous Literary Award

To be announced at the awards ceremony

13. Chairperson’s Award

To be announced at the awards ceremony

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