Call for entries for the Sunday Times Literary Awards 2022

27 February 2022 - 00:12
Thanks to a partnership with Exclusive Books, the Sunday Times Literary Awards is back on track.
Image: Supplied Thanks to a partnership with Exclusive Books, the Sunday Times Literary Awards is back on track.

For the past 70 years Exclusive Books supported the world’s best writers and publishers and now the company has become the proud sponsor of the prestigious Sunday Times Literary Awards. Writers are the lifeblood of this newspaper and the country as they chart the making of history from week to week. Both Exclusive Books and the Sunday Times recognise the passion and power of the word and want to celebrate authors as well as shine a light on the outstanding work they produce.

The Sunday Times Literary Awards are a highlight of the South African publishing calendar, and Exclusive Books is proud to be the keynote sponsor. As Home of the Booklover, Exclusive Books welcomes the opportunity to celebrate and showcase local talent, and partnering with the Sunday Times provides local publishing with the support of two iconic South African brands,” says Batya Bricker, general manager of Exclusive Books' marketing, loyalty program and procurement. 

won the 2021 Sunday Times Non-Fiction Award.
Image: Supplied These Are Not Gentle People by Andrew Harding won the 2021 Sunday Times Non-Fiction Award.

The Sunday Times Literary Awards was founded in 1989, a year of enormous upheaval in SA as the pillars of the old order began to sway. The essential qualities rewarded by the prize are compassion, honesty and a commitment to help us understand ourselves. The non-fiction award honours the commentators and investigators who see beneath the surface and who hold our leaders to account ... and it salutes the memoirists who, through their personal stories, illuminate our society so that we can know ourselves better. So we can do better.

The criteria for the non-fiction award: “The winner should demonstrate the illumination of truthfulness, especially those forms of it that are new, delicate, unfashionable and fly in the face of power; compassion; elegance of writing; and intellectual and moral integrity.”

In 2001, the Fiction Prize was added with the express purpose of encouraging and recognising excellence in novels - works that explore our democracy in a different way, seeking different truths. It honours the imaginers and the dreamers who explore the complexity of the human experience and who give us new understanding of our world and of ourselves.

The criteria for the fiction prize: “The winner should be a novel of rare imagination and style, evocative, textured and a tale so compelling as to become an enduring landmark of contemporary fiction.”

won the 2021 Sunday Times Literary fiction award.
Image: Supplied A Sin of Omission by Marguerite Poland won the 2021 Sunday Times Literary fiction award.

The Sunday Times Literary Awards have become a barometer of the nation’s mood, its preoccupations and fears. Last year the fiction winner was Marguerite Poland for her novel A Sin Of Omission, published by Penguin.

The winner for the non-fiction award was Andrew Harding for These Are Not Gentle People, published by Picador Africa.

This year each winner receives R100,000, marking the award as one of the richest literary prizes on the continent.

The past two years have been a trial for all of us and now, thanks to Exclusive Books, we can once again honour these authors and their stories. 

This is a call for entries

Submissions are invited from publishers for the 2022 Sunday Times Literary Awards in partnership with Exclusive Books for non-fiction and fiction. 

  • The list of titles that publishers wish to enter should reach the convenors by email by Tuesday March 15 2022.
  • Publishers are to provide any full-length fiction or non-fiction work relating to southern Africa and published between December 1 2020 and December 1 2021
  • Publishers are requested to email a list of FOUR TITLES per imprint. Please submit a list of other titles published that are eligible. 
  • All entry forms must be sent to Jennifer Platt of the Sunday Times at by no later than Tuesday, March 15 2022
  • Only upon receiving notification from the conveners that a title or titles have been included on the longlist, should publishers send FIVE print copies of each title to the Sunday Times by March 25 2022.

Click here for the submission rules and procedures for non-fiction.

Click here for the submission rules and procedures for fiction.