Shortlist revealed for 2020 Humanities and Social Sciences Awards

27 February 2020 - 09:29 By TimesLIVE
The annual Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) Awards serve as a platform to recognise writers and contributors, as well as publishing houses.
The annual Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) Awards serve as a platform to recognise writers and contributors, as well as publishing houses.

The fifth annual Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) Awards ceremony will take place on March 12 at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, during which authors and contributors of books, creative collections and digital contributions will be honoured.

The awards – hosted by the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS) – boast more than 100 entries in eight categories. They aim to uplift the work of creatives and scholars.

The categories include fiction (edited volumes and single-authored volumes), non-fiction monographs and edited volumes, musical compositions/arrangements, public performances, visual arts and digital humanities visualisations and infographics.

The awards not only serve as a platform for recognition of the writers and contributors, but pay tribute to the strides made by the associated publishing houses; they also aid the creatives and academics in promoting their work.

“With more than a 100 entries, we are pleased to note the phenomenal growth and interest in the number of submissions for the HSS Awards 2020. Qualifying entries for these annual HSS Awards 2020 feature 67 book entries, 18 creative collections and digital contributions,” said NIHSS chief executive Prof Sarah Mosoetsa.

The HSS Awards 2020 shortlist.
The HSS Awards 2020 shortlist.
Image: Supplied

The submissions are supported by various publishing houses and associated with 15 higher education institutions.

“The book submissions for the awards span a wide range of categories and they illustrate the diversity, beauty, complexities, and richness of the South African context,” said Mosoetsa.

"Most of the book entries below are a highlight of the 2020 awards entries. They include a plethora of non-fiction literature that reflects the institutionalisation of the Southern African experience, demographic and landscape."

Leading HSS scholars and academics will congregate to honour and celebrate outstanding contributions to the HSS by academics, curators and artists based at participating South African universities, working to advance the HSS.


Shortlisted titles in the non-fiction category:

  • Principle and Pragmatism in the Liberation Struggle: A Political Biography of Selby Msimang by Sibongiseni Mkhize (HSRC Press)
  • Black Academic Voices: The South African Experience by Grace Khunou, Hugo Canham, Katijah Khoza-Shangase and Edith Dinong Phaswana (HSRC Press)
  • Plaatje: A Life of Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje (1876 –1932) by Brian Willan (Jacana Media)
  • Civilising Grass: The Art of the Lawn on the South African Highveld by Jonathan Cane (Wits University Press)

  • Transforming Research Methods in the Social Sciences, edited by Sumaya Laher, Angelo Fynn and Sherianne Kramer (Wits University Press)

  • Writing the Ancestral River: A Biography of the Kowie by Jacklyn Cock (Wits University Press)

  • Acts of Transgression: Contemporary Live Art in South Africa by Jay Pather and Catherine Boulle (Wits University Press)

  • Dance of the Dung Beetles: Their Role in our Changing World by Marcus Bryne and Helen Lunn (Wits University Press)

Wits University Press boasts five shortlisted titles.
Wits University Press boasts five shortlisted titles.
Image: Supplied

Shortlisted titles in the fiction category:

  • The History of Intimacy by Gabeba Baderoon (Kwela)
  • Called to Song by Kharnita Mohamed (Kwela)
  • A Tree for the Birds by Vernon Head (Jacana Media)
  • Lacuna by Fiona Snyckers (Pan Macmillan SA)