CityLife Arts

Book on Blesser culture listed for international prize

By Edward Tsumele

Local novelist Angela Makholwa stands a chance to win a major international literary prize for her fourth novel Blessed Girl. Blessed Girl gives an insight into the Blesser culture, a popular subculture that sees young girls going out with older men with a huge bank balance, especially of the tenderpreneur type in the South African context.

Her local publisher Pan Macmillan announced the news of the nomination for Blessed Girl on Monday.

“Pan Macmillan South Africa is delighted to announce that Angela Makholwa’s fourth novel, The Blessed Girl, published in the United Kingdom by Bloomsbury,has been short-listed for the Comedy Women in Print Prize.

The brainchild of award-winning comedian Helen Lederer, Comedy Women in Print (CWIP) launched in 2018 to celebrate and support female comedy writers and is open to novels published in the UK and Ireland. The CWIP shortlist also includes Candice Carty-Williams’ Queenie (Orion), Jeannette Winterson’s Frankissstein (Jonathan Cape) and Beth O’Leary’s The Flatshare (Quercus), alongside Big Girl, Small Town by Michelle Gallen (John Murray), Reasons to be Cheerful by Nina Stibbe (Penguin Random House) and The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman (Headline).

Judges for this award are Marian Keyes, Lolly Adefope, Pauline McLynn, Joanna Scanlan, Paula Wilcox and last year’s prize winner, Laura Steven. Keyes, who chaired the panel said: “I am absolutely delighted with our list. The range is glorious – everything from light-hearted commercial fiction to literary fiction – from established names to new talent – and it’s a demonstration of all the different ways in which women can be funny in print. It was a pleasure and very exciting to read all the submissions, and these are shortlists we are very proud of.”

 “I’m honoured to have been shortlisted among such brilliant female comic writers. It’s affirming to finally see women’s writing being acknowledged for its diversity instead of having our writing being classified according to our gender. I hope this prize heralds a new era where we will see terms like ‘Chick Lit’ being replaced by more nuanced categorisations of our work,” Angela Makholwa said.

MAKHOLWA lives and works in Johannesburg. The Blessed Girl is her fourth novel, following on from the bestselling Red Ink (2007), The 30th Candle (2009) and Black Widow Society (2013). She has a new novel scheduled for release in South Africa in November 2020, according to her local publisher.

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