And the winners of the 2019 Sunday Times Literary Awards are ...

06 September 2019 - 17:45 By Staff reporter
The winners of the 2019 Sunday Times Literary Awards: Terry Kurgan (left) and Siphiwe Ndlovu.
The winners of the 2019 Sunday Times Literary Awards: Terry Kurgan (left) and Siphiwe Ndlovu.
Image: Supplied

The 2019 winners of the annual Sunday Times Literary Awards – considered to be the most prestigious literary accolades in the country – have just been announced.

The Barry Ronge Fiction Prize was awarded to Siphiwe Ndlovu for her debut novel, The Theory of Flight (Penguin Fiction), while Terry Kurgan received the Alan Paton Award for non-fiction for her book, Everyone is Present: Essays on Photography, Family and Memory (Fourthwall Books).

The pair each receive a massive R100k prize.

“This was a special and significant year for the Sunday Times Literary Awards. It marked the 30th anniversary of the coveted Alan Paton Award,” said Sunday Times Books Editor Jennifer Platt.

“Both winners showcase once again the best in South African writing, and the prizes continue to signify the dedication that the Sunday Times has to our local literature.”

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE AWARD-WINNING BOOKS

'The Theory of Flight' by Siphiwe Ndlovu
WINNER OF THE BARRY RONGE FICTION PRIZE: 'The Theory of Flight' by Siphiwe Ndlovu
Image: Supplied

THE THEORY OF FLIGHT

About the author:

Ndlovu is an award-winning filmmaker, academic and writer based in Joburg. The Theory of Flight is her first novel.

About the book:

Set in an unnamed Southern African country, The Theory of Flight is a richly imagined, allegorical tale of a young woman called Genie whose idyllic childhood is shattered when soldiers arrive in her village.

What the judges said:

Chaired by writer and book critic Ken Barris, the judging panel for this year's Barry Ronge Fiction Prize included journalist Nancy Richards and writer Wamuwi Mbao.

The trio said Ndlovu's book was “a beautifully resolved magical-realist novel” and described it as being "utterly captivating and image-rich".

'Everyone is Present' by Terry Kurgan.
WINNER OF THE ALAN PATON AWARD FOR NON-FICTION: 'Everyone is Present' by Terry Kurgan.
Image: Supplied

EVERYONE IS PRESENT: ESSAYS ON PHOTOGRAPHY, FAMILY AND MEMORY

About the author:

Kurgan is an award-winning artist and writer based in Joburg. Her other books include Johannesburg Circa Now: Photography and the City and Hotel Yeoville.

About the book:

A highly original and exquisitely produced work, Everyone is Present is Kurgan's first work of creative non-fiction. At its heart, it's the story of Kurgan's family and their epic journey across Europe fleeing Nazi occupation, but which extends to a thoughtful contemplation of photography and memory.

What the judges said:

Chaired by award-winning writer, journalist and filmmaker Sylvia Vollenhoven, the judging panel for this year's Alan Paton Award included journalist Paddi Clay and Professor Tinyiko Maluleke from the Centre of Advancement of Scholarship at the University of Pretoria.

The judges called Kurgan's book “a compassionate, mesmerising tale of a time and place and the singular journey of remarkable people”. 


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