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Celebrating standout literary work

2015-07-01 09:30

JACOB Dlamini and Damon Galgut are the winners of 2015 Sunday Times Literary Awards.

Dlamini received the Alan Paton Award for his book Askari: A Story of Collaboration and Betrayal in the Anti-Apartheid Struggle (Jacana Media), while Galgut took home the Barry Ronge Fiction Prize for his novel Arctic Summer.

The awards were presented at a gala dinner at Summer Place in Sandton at the weekend. Speaking at the event, Ben Williams, Sunday Times books editor, said of Askari: “The judges called it an exceptionally brave, ground-breaking book, learned without being ponderous, with an insistent moral compass.”

Dlamini’s competitors for the award were Mark Gevisser for Lost and Found in Johannesburg (Jonathan Ball Publishers), Lindi Koorts for D.F. Malan and the Rise of Afrikaner Nationalism (Tafelberg), Maria Phalime for Postmortem: the Doctor Who Walked Away and Jonny Steinberg for A Man of Good Hope (Jonathan Ball Publishers).

Steinberg received an honourable mention from the judges for his book.

Referring to Galgut’s book, Williams said: “The judges found the novel to be a brilliant evocation of the life of E.M. Forster, from an author writing at the height of his powers.”

Galgut’s book was short-listed against Imraan Coovadia’s Tales of the Metric System (Umuzi), The Reactive by Masande Ntshanga (Umuzi), The Savage Hour by Elaine Proctor (Quercus) and October by Zoe Wicomb (Umuzi).

The awards celebrate the best of South African fiction and non-fiction writing, and this year the prize money was increased to R100 000 each.

“The entries for this year’s Sunday Times Literary Awards were exceptionally strong, presenting our judges with a particularly tough challenge in choosing winners,” said Williams.

“There was decidedly more wheat than chaff to sort, but in the end, we have two standout books that will shape our literary conversation for years to come.”

— Books Editor

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