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Announcing the 2013 European Union Literary Award Shortlist


Participating European Union Member States and Jacana Media are pleased to announce the shortlist for the eighth European Union Literary Award.

khalils-journey-covwebThe European Union Literary Award has at its core the ideal of promoting new South African literature that speaks not only to South Africans but also to an international audience. Now in its eighth year, the European Union Literary Award is a driving force in uncovering new and talented South African fiction writers. This year the award is generously supported by the Goethe-Institut South Africa and the Embassy of France in South Africa.

The judges for the award this year stressed the extraordinarily contrasting nature of the thirty entries into the competition and agreed that this variety challenged them to read quite differently to the manner in which they all read day to day. "Reading the submissions for this award affords a fascinatingly wide view of our current literary imaginings. The first finalist- alphabetically- gallops us into a fast-paced roller coaster of immigrant survival. The second is familiar and modern and a fast read for those of us used to reading books from the UK or the US; and the third demands in contrast a slow reading and an effort to get into a less familiar sense of history. This diversity is to be celebrated".

All judges agreed that the writing of all three finalists is across the board ttsuperb': but were less enthusiastic about the quality of writing overall: "The diversity of other entries was less happy. The manuscripts are unnamed but there is a sense that the large number of historical pioneer novels are being written by white South African writers who think wrongly that the past is a safer place of representation than the present. There appears to be a need to listen more to all our stories, not to elide the creative differences represented in the winning entries, but to address the impoverishment of silo imaginings. There appears to be a need to get all authors to read more of each other".

The shortlisted manuscripts for the 2013 European Union Literary Award are:
The Last Mentsch by Peter Bayer
The Story of Anna P, as Told by Herself by Penny Busetto
Nketu, the Story of a South African King by Reen Collett

The winner will be announced on Wednesday 27 November 2013 in Johannesburg.

The winner of this year's award receives a R25 000 cash prize. The winner's novel will be published by
Jacana Media in the first half of2014.

This year’s jury comprised of:

Dr Mongane Wally Serote ( Jury Chair)
Born in Sophiatown, Johannesburg, Serote was drawn to poetry and writing towards the end of his high-school career and went on to obtain a fine arts degree in New York at Columbia University in 1979. As a cadre for Umkhonto we Sizwe he lived in Botswana and London, where he became involved with the Medu Arts Ensemble. He is the recipient of the 1993 Noma Award for Publishing in Africa, and has also been given the Pablo Neruda Award from the Chilean government in 2004. His novel Rumours, the latest of many publications, is published by Jacana.

Phakama Mbonambi
Mbonambi is a publishing editor of literary journal called Wordsetc. A quarterly, the title promotes the consumption of South African literature and fine writing from elsewhere on the continent, and seeks to be a platform for emerging writers. Mbonambi, who has worked for many years in various newspapers as a subeditor, manages Flamenco Publishing which is based in Johannesburg.

Dr Pamela Nichols
Nichols came to South Africa in 1995 to the Wits English Department. She helped found and is currently the director of Wits Writing Centre (WWC), one of the first writing centres in the country. Nichols has taught in universities in Lebanon, Jordan and New York and in 1992 completed a doctorate in Comparative Literature guided by the work of Edward Said. Since inception the WWC has produced 17 award- winning writers and part-organised six literary festivals as well as promoting successful academic writing and promoting writing intensive teaching.

Previous EU Literary Award Winners:

Khalil’s Journey by Ashraf Kagee (2011/2012)
Deeper than Colour by James Clelland (2010)
Saracen at the Gates by Zinaid Meeran (2009)
Till We Can Keep an Animal by Megan Voysey-Braig (2008)
Coconut by Kopano Matlwa (2006/2007)
Bitches’ Brew by Fred Khumalo and Ice in the Lungs by Gerald Kraak (2005)
The Silent Minaret by Ishtiyaq Shukri (2004)

Picture: Khalil's Journey by Ashraf Kagee, 2012 EU Literary Award Winner

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