Zakes Mda and Greg Marinovich are the winners of the Sunday Times Literary Awards 2017.
The Sunday Times Literary Awards are composed of two awards, fiction and non-fiction, given by the South African newspaper The Sunday Times worth R100,000 to the winners. The awards are the Barry Ronge Fiction Prize (formerly Sunday Times Fiction Prize 2001–14) and the Alan Paton Award for works of non-fiction (1989-present). Winners of the prize include Pumla Dineo Gqola and Nkosinathi Sithole in 2016, Jacob Dlamini and Damon Galgut in 2015, as well as Sifiso Mzobe, and Redi Tlhabi in previous years.
In the running for the Alan Patton Award for nonfiction this year were Under Nelson Mandela Boulevard – Life In Cape Town’s Stowaway Underground by Sean Christie, Darwin’s Hunch: Science, Race and the Search for Human Origins by Christa Kuljian, Murder at Small Koppie: The Real Story of The Marikana Massacre by Greg Marinovich, Letters of Stone by Steven Robins and My Own Liberator: A Memoir by Dikgang Moseneke. Moseneke’s book will be remembered for featuring at this past year’s Abantu Book Festival. The judging panel for this prize chaired by Pippa Green included Tinyiko Maluleke and Johann Kriegler.
In the fiction prize called the Barry Ronge Fiction Prize were The Printmaker by Bronwyn Law-Viljoen, Period Pain by Kopano Matlwa, Little Suns by Zakes Mda, The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso, and The Safest Place You Know by Mark Winkler. Omotoso’s book is the book to note as it has been nominated in several prizes including the Bailey’s Prize 2017. The prize was judged by Rehana Rossouw (chair), Africa Melane and Kate Rogan.
The prizes were handed out at a ceremony in Johannesburg, South Africa. Zakes Mda who would be reprising his win from 2001 for The Heart of Redness also gave the keynote address. You can read his keynote address Fiction is essential in a corrupt society in full here.