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Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime awarded Thurber Prize for American Humour

Born A CrimeTrevor Noah was announced as the winner of the 2017 Thurber Prize for American Humour for his memoir Born a Crime on the 2nd of October at a ceremony at Carolines on Broadway in New York City.

The Thurber Prize is the only award which gives recognition to the art of humour writing in America. Noah received $5 000, a commemorative plaque, and is invited to Thurber House in Columbus, Ohio as a featured guest at a special event.

The runner-ups were novelists Ken Pisani’s (author of Amp’d, and Aaron Their – nominated for Mr. Eternity).

Trevor Noah’s path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show in New York began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of his relationship with his fearless, rebellious and fervently religious mother – his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The eighteen personal essays collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic and deeply affecting. Whether being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping or simply trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his world with an incisive wit and an unflinching honesty.

‘As much as Born a Crime is about Trevor, you can’t help but see yourself in the stories he tells. In many ways, he is all of us. When Trevor writes about his mother, I felt like he was writing about mine. He was born in the tragedy and comedy that was apartheid South Africa and he recounts his experiences with compassion and humour. He validates my view: although we all seem ordinary, we all have extraordinary stories to tell – and to live.’

Born a Crime strikes a perfect balance of humour and seriousness. It is wild and calming; it makes you want to sit and reflect silently, and also pick up the phone to question loved ones. It is both Xhosa and Swiss – the two forces that created this crime. Bravo Trevor! This book gave me all the answers about you to questions I never knew I had.’

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University of Johannesburg Prize for South African Writing in English 2016 winners announced


The University of Johannesburg is pleased to announce the winners of its annual literary award:

The main prize of R75 000 is awarded to Nthikeng Mohlele for Pleasure (Picador Africa).

The debut prize of R35 000 is awarded to Mohale Mashigo for The Yearning (Picador Africa).

A formal prize-giving ceremony will be held later in the year.

Publishers who wish to submit entries for the UJ prize for works published in 2017 should contact Prof Ronit Frenkel (

Background information

The prizes are not linked to a specific genre. This may make the evaluation more challenging in the sense that, for example, a volume of poetry, a novel and a biographical work must be measured against one another, but the idea is to open the prize to as many forms of creative writing as possible.

Approximately 60 works were submitted this year, from which the following books were selected for the shortlist:

Main Prize:
Pleasure by Nthikeng Mohlele
The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso
Sigh the Beloved Country by Bongani Madondo

Debut Prize:
The Yearning by Mohale Mashigo
Loud and Yellow Laughter by Sindiswa Busuku-Mathese
Tjieng-Tjang and Other Stories by Jolyn Philips
The Keeper of the Kumm by Sylvia Vollenhoven

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Achmat Dangor “Perversely” Thanks the Apartheid Government for His SALA Lifetime Achievement Award

Strange PilgrimagesThis month, the 2015 South African Literary Awards will present Achmat Dangor with a Lifetime Achievement Literary Award.

The legendary activist, whose most recent book is Strange Pilgrimages, spoke to Morning Live presenter Samm Marshall about his literary life and what being nominated for the SALAs means to him.

Reflecting on where it all started, Dangor said the apartheid banning order that prohibited him from publishing any books or preparing any manuscripts for publication gave him the time to focus on writing.

“In many ways, perversely almost, I need to thank the South African government, the old apartheid government,” he says. “In 1973, I was part of the Black Consciousness Movement, the student movement, and I was banned for five years.

“But my spare time I devoted to my writing because I had nothing else to do.

“Every time I wrote a manuscript, in those days yes it was pen to paper, I’d even hide it. I had manuscripts in my ceiling, in friends’ ceilings, in the garden.”

Dangor was also part of a literary group called Black Thoughts that went around to schools reading banned literature to students.

Watch the video:

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The SALA ceremony will be held at the Tshwane Events Centre on 7 November, 2015:


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Twitter Fundi Barry Bateman Named One of the Top 40 Influential Media Makers in South Africa

Behind the DoorBarry Bateman has been named one of the top 40 most influential young people in the media today.

The Eyewitness News senior journalist and co-author of Behind the Door: The Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp Story with Mandy Wiener has been hailed as a “next-generation reporter” for his swift Twitter skills and ability to break and broadcast news to his 250 000 Twitter followers.

“Barry Bateman is South Africa’s top tweeter,” said City Press editor Ferial Haffajee.

The top 40 under 40s in the media for 2015 were selected by media experts and industry leaders across a spectrum of publications in both the traditional and digital media sphere. Other people on the list include Gareth Cliff, Anele Mdoda and Monde Twala.

Read the article:

BARRY BATEMAN Correspondent for Eyewitness News (EWN). Age: 35

“Barry Bateman is South Africa’s top tweeter, who has made his mark as a top Twitter reporter and an excellent radio man,” says City Press editor Ferial Haffajee.

He has proven himself as a next-generation reporter, who actively engages with his nearly 250 000 Twitter followers, all while writing and broadcasting breaking news.

He became a household name in 2013 from his extensive coverage of the Oscar Pistorius trial, which led to the publication of his first book, written with fellow journalist Mandy Wiener, Behind the Door: The Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp Story.

“He’s not afraid to push himself as a journalist and try new things,” says EWN editor in chief Katy Katopodis.

UNIQUE: His first break in mainstream media came when he photographed an aircraft crash at the Wonderboom Airshow, which resulted in him getting a foot in with the Pretoria News.

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My Second Initiation by Vusi Pikoli and Mandy Wiener Shortlisted for 2014 Sunday Times Alan Paton Award

My Second InitiationPan Macmillan is delighted to announce that Vusi Pikoli’s and Mandy Wiener’s bestselling book, My Second Initiation: The Memoir of Vusi Pikoli, published under its Picador Africa imprint, has been shortlisted for the 2014 Sunday Times Alan Paton Award.

In this searingly honest account, Pikoli reveals how he grappled with the dilemma of prosecuting friends and comrades, how he navigated through repeated attempts at political interference and how he confronted his own persecutors in a poignant face-to-face encounter. He provides an insider’s perspective on cases that have dominated discussion over the past decade from the Arms Deal and the Scorpions to the Brett Kebble murder, Travelgate, the Special Browse Mole Report and the Hoax E-mail saga.

Pikoli interrogates the state of the country’s criminal justice system, reflects on what has become of his beloved ANC and considers whether the cost of his sacrifices was worth fighting for.

“I want to thank those readers who have bought My Second Initiation and who have engaged with us over the book. And I offer my congratulations to the other authors whose books have been shortlisted. In sharing my story, I hope I have highlighted issues of accountability, integrity and transparency, as well as the importance of the independence of prosecutors and of the need to uphold the values of our Constitution.” – Vusi Pikoli

“I am thrilled that My Second Initiation has been named on the shortlist for such an esteemed award. Having sacrificed so much, Advocate Pikoli deserves to have his story acknowledged and appreciated. This is such an important book about prosecutorial independence, speaking truth to power, integrity and about holding our government to account.” – Mandy Wiener

“I am delighted to see the close collaboration of Vusi Pikoli and Mandy Wiener rewarded with the shortlisting of My Second Initiation for the 2014 Sunday Times Alan Paton Award. This memoir speaks very strongly to the award’s criteria, in particular of ‘truthfulness’ that flies ‘in the face of power’ and of ‘intellectual and moral integrity’. I also extend my congratulations to the other shortlisted authors, and their publishers, as it was a strong longlist to be chosen from.” – Andrea Nattrass, Publisher at Pan Macmillan South Africa

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Duncan Brown’s Are Trout South African? Takes Second Prize as the Oddest Book Title of the Year

Are Trout South African?Are Trout South African?: Stories of Fish, People and Places by Duncan Brown has come second in the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year, sharing the spot with The Origin of Feces by David Waltner-Toews.

The winning title is How to Poo on a Date: The Lovers’ Guide to Toilet Etiquette by Mats and Enzo.

In Are Trout South African? Brown discusses notions of identity and belonging, using the history of trout in South Africa as a way of exploring these issues.

Powered by the British public’s unstoppable enthusiasm for toilet humour, the enticingly-titled How to Poo on a Date has carried off this year’s Diagram prize for the oddest book title of the year.

With previous winners of the award including How to Shit in the Woods, American Bottom Archaeology and Cooking with Poo – which innocently drew its name from author Saiyuud Diwong’s nickname, “Poo”, Thai for crab – the prize is beginning to show a dangerous trend. “Diagram devotees have spoken, and spoken in no uncertain terms: poo wins prizes,” said prize administrator Tom Tivnan, also highlighting the shortlisted title The Origin of Feces, which came in a narrow second to How to Poo on a Date in this year’s public vote.

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Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom Honoured with Inaugural Film Award from Cinema for Peace

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

MandelaThe film adaptation of Nelson Mandela’s life, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, and the former president himself have been honoured with a special award from Cinema for Peace.

Mandela and the film were presented with the inaugural Special Honorary Award at the Cinema for Peace Gala in Berlin, Germany on Monday. The Justin Chadwick-directed biopic was also nominated for the Cinema for Peace Most Valuable Movie Award, but lost out on the night to 12 Years a Slave.

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, which is based on Madiba’s autobiography, stars British actors Idris Elba and Naomie Harris, as well as South African actors Tony Kgoroge and Riaad Moosa. It was also nominated for three Golden Globes earlier this year – winning one; Best Original Song for U2′s “Ordinary Love” – and has earned an Oscar nomination, again for U2′s musical efforts.

Cinema for Peace, which was established in 2002, is an organisation aiming to highlight the social relevance of films and create awareness of global, social, political and humanitarian problems.

Anant Singh, film producer and co-author of the film’s companion book, Mandela, was delighted with the award:

The Cinema for Peace Award recognises Madiba’s exceptional life by honouring him and the film. We are extremely thrilled to have the film join Madiba being honoured as the first recipient of the Special Honorary Award.

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Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom Nominated for Three Golden Globe Awards

MandelaAnant Singh’s film adaptation of Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, has received three Golden Globe nominations. Idris Elba, who played Mandela in the movie, was nominated for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama, Alex Heffes was nominated for Best Original Score and U2 was nominated for the Best Original Song for “Ordinary Love”, written for the movie.

Singh said that they are honoured to have received the nominations, adding that it’s the first time a South African film has received this number of nominations.

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom received three Golden Globe Nominations, it was announced in Los Angeles earlier yesterday. Idris Elba received the nomination for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama for his role as Nelson Mandela, Alex Heffes received the nomination for Best Original Score and U2 was nominated for the Best Original Song – “Ordinary Love” which was written especially for the film.

Idris Elba also received a nomination for Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture made for Television for his role in the television series, Luther which he won last year.

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Jonathan Jansen Nominated for Lead SA’s Hero of the Year Award

Letters to My ChildrenJonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State and author of many books, including Letters to My Children: Tweets to Make You Think, has been nominated for Lead SA’s Hero of the Year Award.

On his Lead SA nomination page many of Jansen’s achievements are mentioned as reasons for his being a Lead SA hero, for example: “Prof Jansen’s vision for transformation through education is both demonstrated and taught to others. He leads and helps others be better leaders, drawing on his own past he helps others choose their future rather than be defined by their circumstances or past.”

You can vote for Jansen as Hero of the Year on his Lead SA nomination page.

There are those people in every family, school, community and in each of our lives who make a difference. Whether they ease a difficult life or inspire a young mind, these are heroes in the lives of those who they touch. And now it is time to recognise the impact that they have.

LEAD SA Heroes is a campaign that asks South Africans to nominate the people who bring positive change to their lives or communities. The award seeks to acknowledge those that can demonstrate the principle of Lead SA – to inspire a shared vision, to model the way, to enable others to act, to challenge the process and to celebrate the success.

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Jonathan Jansen Receives Education Africa Lifetime Achievement Award in New York (Plus: Video)

Letters to My ChildrenEarlier this week Professor Jonathan Jansen, author of Letters to My Children and Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the University of the Free State, was in New York to receive the Education Africa Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in post-aparthied transformation in South Africa.

Times LIVE reports that Jansen said he is “very grateful for the recognition, not for myself so much as for thousands of ordinary South Africans in the education system who work against great odds to give particularly poor children a shot at a decent life”. Previous recipients of the lifetime achievement award include Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Richard Branson.

Professor Jonathan Jansen, the University of Free State rector and The Times columnist, has received the Education Africa Lifetime Achievement Award in New York.

The SABC reported yesterday that the academic was honoured for his work in helping South Africa triumph over the bitter legacies of its past.

The SABC has shared a video of Jansen’s acceptance speech:.

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