Dinaane Debut Fiction Award and Kraak Writing Grant winners announced

21 February 2020 - 15:50 By jacana media
Past recipients of the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award.
Past recipients of the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award.
Image: Supplied

The Jacana Literary Foundation, in partnership with Exclusive Books, is delighted to announce the winner of the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award 2020.

Congratulations to Resoketswe Manenzhe, who will receive a R35,000 cash prize and publication of her book, Scatterlings, by Jacana Media. This title will be available in September 2020.

Scatterlings is a brilliant piece of writing, telling a story seldom told in South Africa. It is a compelling, original novel, ambitious in its form, with a pioneering depth of research.” — Jennifer Malec, judge

The Kraak Writing Grant went to Julia Landau, author of Sleeping Naked.

The grant is valued at R25,000 and is dedicated to the memory of Gerald Kraak. It offers the recipient mentoring and intensive coaching from Alison Lowry, editor, publishing expert and writer, enabling the author to refine and develop their work still further.

Nozuko Siyotula, for her novel Christopher, narrowly missed being awarded for her exceptionally well-written and creative manuscript.

“The novels shortlisted this year stood out from the rest because of their nuanced portrayals of the development of personhood in a world fixated by difference and disaster. The shortlisted manuscripts have all skilfully shaded in the greys between the black and white of existence and difference. There are few villains and heroes in these stories — characters make the best of the hugely difficult challenges created by the writer sand often do not live up to the moral expectations of readers.” — Rehana Roussouw, head judge

The aim of these awards is to ensure that great southern African fiction continues to be published, by making possible new literature that may otherwise not have come about — not because of its merits, but because of the market forces that constrain us all in the book world.

'Scatterlings' by Resoketswe Manenzhe.
'Scatterlings' by Resoketswe Manenzhe.
Image: Supplied


The novel is set over a hundred years ago, and chronicles a tale of migrancy very different to what we have come to expect in African literature. It incorporates myth and ritual, and the stories of extraordinary, ordinary women.

What Scatterlings illustrates is that it is possible to write what you know without limiting yourself to your own actual, physical, lived experience.

Resoketswe Manenzhe is a PhD student and lecturer at the University of Cape Town. She is also an engineer who primarily works in the mining sphere. Resoketswe is no stranger to writing. In 2019, she won the Writivism Short Story Prize, and has also had a few of her short stories and poems published in journals such as the Kalahari Review and the Sol Plaatje European Union Anthology.

Are you an unpublished writer of fiction? Don’t let the chance to be the next winner of the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award pass you by. Entries for the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award 2021 will be opening in May 2020. Follow them on social media for the latest updates and visit their website for more information on how to enter.