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Thu Dec 18 05:59:51 SAST 2014

Talented, you know the type

Compiled by Jackie May | 21 May, 2013 00:55

Shortlists for the Sunday Times Literary Awards 2013 in association with CNA, were announced at the Franschhoek Literary Festival. The writers report back

THE ALAN PATON AWARD FOR NON-FICTION

THE SHORTLISTED AUTHORS

 

JACQUES PAUW

'Rat Roads', (Zebra Press)

Where were you when you heard the news of your shortlisting?

I was at the announcement in Franschhoek. I didn't plan to go, but partner-in-crime and fellow author Julian Rademeyer and my partner, Sam, dragged me to the event.

How did you celebrate?

We had dinner with Jenny Crwys-Williams and a handful of other authors and readers at the spectacular Pierneef restaurant at the La Motte wine estate. First we had cap classique, then dipped into the estate's delicious sauvignon blanc. It was a rather joyous affair and ended at midnight scouring the village for an open bar.

What is the best line in your book?

"This is a book about barabara ya panya - a Swahili proverb that means the roads of the rat, those little paths that you take in order not be seen and to stay alive."

Have you read any of the other shortlisted books?

I've been involved with Julian's Killing for Profit from the outset. Julian and I are close friends and started writing our books at the same time for the same publisher. We supported one another and read one another's finished chapters.

It's important to have this kind of support when one embarks on a writing journey.

Xolela's Biko is in my bookshelf and Redi is definitely a must-read.

Which book would you like to see win?

Killing for Profit. I've seldom seen such dedication from any person embarking on a long-term and difficult project. He gave up his job to write this book. No wonder we now call him Renoster Rademeyer.

 

JULIAN RADEMEYER

'Killing for Profit', Zebra Press

Where were you when you heard the news of your shortlisting?

At the announcement.

How did you celebrate?

I drank fine Franschhoek valley wine with friends. Oh, and a brandy and coke with Jacques Pauw.

What is the best line in your book?

You'd have to ask someone who has read the book for an objective opinion. I'd tell you that there are too many good lines to mention just one.

Which book would you like to see win?

Mine, of course.

 

HERMANN GILIOMEE

'The Last Afrikaner Leaders' (Tafelberg)

Where were you when you heard the news of your shortlisting?

Erika Oosthuysen, my publisher at Tafelberg, phoned from Franschhoek to tell me the news.

How did you celebrate?

My wife and I hugged each other.

What is the best line in your book?

A line from a letter in 1951 from the historian of world civilisations, Arnold Toynbee, to Piet Meyer, a correspondent in South Africa: "In South Africa you are faced with a situation that is going very soon to be the common situation of the world as a result of the annihilation of distance through the progress of Western technology. there will never be room in the world for the different fractions of mankind to retire into isolation from each other again." This became the main theme of my book.

Which book would you like to see win?

I will decide after I have read the other books on the shortlist.

XOLELA MANGCU

'Biko: A biography', (Tafelberg)

Where were you when you heard the news of your shortlisting?

I was invited to the ceremony and thought I should attend, even if it meant risking the awkwardness that comes with not making it and still keep up a grin the whole evening. I thought I had a fair chance, though.

How did you celebrate?

With loads of cranberry juice. "Boring, boring boring," I hear you say.

What is the best line in your book?

It is from the distinguished historian Jeff Peires: "A brilliant biography, a landmark in Biko studies."

Which book would you like to see win?

I hope my book wins, of course. If not, then Redi's. She's a good friend and Biko would be proud. But as they say in sports, may the best book win.

 

REDI TLHABI

'Endings and Beginnings' (Jacana)

Where were you when you heard the news of your shortlisting?

At home, frying bacon and eggs for our Sunday morning brunch.

How did you celebrate?

Celebrate? I haven't won. Of course I am pleased but celebrating should wait until an award is announced, surely?

Which book would you like to see win?

I don't have a view on a specific book. I think all the shortlisted books are excellent and the authors have proven, some over many years, that they are formidable.

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