The winners of the 2019 Sunday Times Literary Awards were announced at an event held at The Empire Conference & Events Venue in Parktown, on Friday, 6 September. The Sunday Times Literary Awards are considered the most prestigious literary accolade in South Africa.
“This was a special and significant year for the Sunday Times Literary Awards. It marked the 30th anniversary of the coveted Alan Paton Award. Both winners showcase once again the best in South African writing, and the prizes continue to signify the dedication that the Sunday Times has to our local literature,” said Sunday Times Books Editor Jennifer Platt.
Alan Paton Award for non-fiction
Terry Kurgan received the Alan Paton Award for non-fiction for her book, “Everyone is Present: Essays on Photography, Family and Memory” (Fourthwall Books). This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Alan Paton Award which has, over the decades, showcased the most acute and incisive non-fiction writing in South Africa.
Kurgan’s book was selected by a panel chaired by award-winning writer, journalist and filmmaker, Sylvia Vollenhoven, alongside journalist Paddi Clay, and Professor Tinyiko Maluleke from the Centre of Advancement of Scholarship at the University of Pretoria.
The judges called it “a compassionate, mesmerising tale of a time and place and the singular journey of remarkable people.”
Barry Ronge Fiction Prize
The Barry Ronge Fiction Prize was awarded to Siphiwe Ndlovu for her book, “The Theory of Flight” (Penguin Fiction). The Barry Ronge Fiction Prize, now in its 19th year, honours the authors who enthral with their imagined worlds.
Writer and book critic Ken Barris chaired the panel which included journalist Nancy Richards, and writer Wamuwi Mbao, in deciding on Ndlovu for “The Theory of Flight”. The panel described it as “utterly captivating and image-rich, a beautifully resolved magical-realist novel.”
Kurgan and Ndlovu each receive a R100 000 prize.