Trevor Noah wins Book of the Year at SA Book Awards

02 October 2020 - 11:03
Trevor Noah's 'Born a Crime' was announced as both the book of the year and the winner of the children's prize at the 2020 South African Book Awards.
Trevor Noah's 'Born a Crime' was announced as both the book of the year and the winner of the children's prize at the 2020 South African Book Awards.
Image: Supplied

Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime was announced as the winner of this year’s SA Book Awards at a virtual ceremony hosted by SABA (South African Booksellers Association), sponsored by Nielsen Book and supported by PASA (Publisher’s Association of South Africa).

This year marked the 20th anniversary of the awards, whereby booksellers vote for their favourite titles in three categories, including the Adult Fiction prize, Adult Non-Fiction prize and the Children’s prize.

A record number of booksellers voted for a shortlist of best-selling titles published in 2019 in SA and written by South African authors in each category. Born a Crime was also announced as the winner of the Children’s award.

Born a Crime is adapted for younger readers from Born a Crime: And Other Stories – the #1 South African and New York Times best-seller. This adaptation has sold more than 8,000 copies in SA and the original edition published in 2016 has sold almost 120,000 copies.

On accepting his award Noah said: “Writing a book was a very scary experience but turning the book into a book specifically for kids was even more scary because children have a very short attention span if your book is boring!” He went on to thank all the children who read the book, the parents who read the book with their children, the booksellers who sold the book and the teachers who recommended the book to their pupils.

Nielsen stated that the book received the highest number of votes and Noah was the clear favourite among booksellers.

On receiving the news Noah said, “This book was my blood, sweat and tears. It was my family’s story and my country’s story.” He went on to praise South African authors, saying they have the most amazing and inspirational stories to tell, encouraging them to continue writing them down so they can be shared with the rest of the world.

Noah has donated his prize money to the Trevor Noah Foundation which supports underserved youth with the educational foundations and opportunities they need to become resilient future leaders of South Africa.

Terry Morris of publisher Pan Macmillan congratulated Noah and thanked Nielsen and the South African booksellers for being partners in the exciting journey of delighting thousands of South Africans of all ages with the remarkable Born a Crime.