Tshidiso Moletsane and Mignonne Breier win the Sunday Times Literary Awards 2022

Tshidiso Moletsane and Mignonne Breierwin are the winners of the Sunday Times Literary Awards 2022. The presentition was made on October 28, 2022.

The Sunday Times Literary Prize, organised by South African newspaper The Sunday Times, has the categories of fiction and nonfiction. Founded in 1989, it has been won by Siphiwe Ndlovu and Terry Kurgan (2019), Bongani Ngqulunga and Harry Kalmer (2018), Zakes Mda and Greg Marinovich (2017), Pumla Dineo Gqola and Nkosinathi Sithole (2016), Jacob Dlamini and Damon Galgut (2015) and a host of others.

The 2022 edition was brought to you in partnership with Exclusive Books where longlists were made public on June 26 before shortlists came on September 4. The winners of the awards are;

Fiction

Judging panel: Ekow Duker (chair), Kevin Ritchie, and Nomboniso Gasa

Winner

  • Junx, Tshidiso Moletsane (Umuzi)

Judges comments: Junx is an exceptional novel written in a style that is “in your face” and brutally honest. In other words, it is difficult to get along with. It drags the reader into the filth and drug-fuelled exhilaration of a Johannesburg many of us keep at bay through the artifice of rolled up car windows, carefully delineated travel routes and gated communities. In choosing Junx as this year’s winner, we did not set out to make a contrarian choice for the sake of it. We were simply looking for a novel that displayed “rare imagination and style, was evocative and textured, and ultimately told a tale that was so compelling as to become an enduring landmark of contemporary fiction”. Junx ticks all these boxes and more.

Winner’s comments: “I didn’t have any real expectations for it. I believed the literary scene probably wouldn’t take too well to the content or the premise. The character is unlikable, there isn’t a lesson at the end, the language is coarse, the book is too short,”

Nonfiction

Judging Panel: Griffin Shea (Chair), Nomavenda Mathiane, and Bongani Ngqulunga

 Winner

  • Bloody Sunday: The Nun, the Defiance Campaign and South Africa’s Secret Massacre, Mignonne Breier (Tafelberg)

Judges comments: Unflinchingly, the winner of this year’s non-fiction award, Mignonne Breier, digs into the horrific massacre that she dubs Bloody Sunday, which took place 60 years ago to the day in East London. Up to 200 people were killed, and yet we collectively have no memory of an incident whose toll dwarfs Sharpeville’s. Perhaps that’s because it took place far from centres of power, or because the details reveal disturbing truths that complicated the story of the struggle. For a moment when we are trying to figure out how the country, and the world, have ended up such a mess, Breier’s Bloody Sunday reminds us things were always messy.

They each received R100,000.