South African Literary Awards celebrates 15 years of existence in style by honouring writers virtually on November 7
By Edward Tsumele
Marking 15 years of advancing the country’s literary heritage, the South African Literary Awards (SALA) has announced a short list of some of the categories, while withholding other nominees until the very day of the ceremony. These literary awards honour a number of actors in the literary space that a panel, hand-picked by the organisers, select after sifting through several entries each year after receiving nominations from the public for most of the categories, while other categories are at the discretion of the panelists.
The awards ceremony honours individuals in the following categories: National Poet Laureate Prize, Poetry Award, Literary Translators Award, Lifetime Achievement Literary Award, Posthumous Literary Award, Literary Journalism Award, Creative Non-Fiction Award, Chairperson’s Award, Children’s Literature Award, Youth Literature Award, and Novel Award.
“The list of nominees reflects the transformative nature not only of SALA, but the country’s literary community. The potpourri nature of the country provides a canvas on which writers manage to paint beautiful pictures without needing to look over their shoulders,” SALA said in a statement following the release of the short list for most of the categories.
Certain category shortlist not revealed
For certain categories such as the K. Sello Duiker Memorial Award, Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award, Posthumous Literary Award, Chairperson’s Literary Award, Literary Journalism Award, and Lifetime Achievement Literary Award, shortlisted nominees have not been revealed, and will only be announced on November 7 at the event itself.
The winners will be announced at a celebratory awards ceremony to be held virtually on 7th November 2020, the International African Writers’ Day.
The prestigious South African Literary Awards were founded in 2005 by the wRite associates, in partnership with the National Department of Arts and Culture, as a platform to honour authors, translators, poets and other literary practitioners who the panelists believe made and continue to make a contribution in the South African literary landscape.
To date more than 200 odd actors in the literary terrain have been honoured over the last 14 years, amongst them the current National Poet Laureate, Professor Mongane Wally Serote, the late Nobel Laureate, Nadine Gordimer, multi-award winning novelist Kgebetli Moele, literary journalists Phakama Mbonambi, Bongani Madondo and Sabata-Mpho Mokae, poet Kobus Moolman, book critics Karabo Kgoleng and Jenny Crwys-Williams, activist, poet and author Ambassador Lindiwe Mabuza, short story writers Makhosazana Xaba and Reneilwe Malatji, scholars and prolific writers Zakes Mda, Njabulo S. Ndebele, Mbulelo Mzamane, Ashraaf Kagee, Nhlanhla Maake, Imraan Coovadia, the late translator, poet, novelist and children’s writer Chris van Wyk; Lebohang Masango, also a children’s author.
Raks Seakhoa of writeassociates
SALA honours writing and writers in all official languages across 14 categories. They are K.Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award, which is a celebration of one of the country’s most prolific authors of his generation, k. Sello Duiker. First-Time published writers are also acknowledged and honoured by the Awards. The other is the Nadine Gordimer Short Story Literary Award, honouring thespians in the genre, across all languages. In addition, there are:
“Writers are given an equal opportunity to contest any of the Awards categories, the winners over the years reflect that elevated state of South African literature, which has seen some of the local works adapted to screen- and stage-plays,” says SALA.
View the 2020 SALA Shortlist below