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CNA backs 2021 Sunday Times Literary Awards

15 November 2020 - 00:00 By paul ash
CNA CEO Benjamin Trisk.
CNA CEO Benjamin Trisk.
Image: Supplied

Benjamin Trisk wants to put African writers and their stories back into the hearts of the people. To do this, Trisk, now CEO of CNA, has put the weight of his recent acquisition behind the Sunday Times Literary Awards — which are due to run again in 2021 after a one-year hiatus.

“I’m trying to encourage children to read and authors to write. I’m trying to encourage more black African fiction and nonfiction,” said Trisk, pictured. “If you don’t give children and people of colour stories about their own situations then we will have failed.”

The awards, which will be called the Sunday Times CNA Literary Awards, will see the convergence of two great South African brands, said Trisk. “Next year we will be 125 years old — who better to take custody of a literate life than CNA?”

Trisk admits that CNA was primarily a stationer and could not boast the biggest range of books in its stores. “But”, he said, “it’s unthinkable for me to be in the business of paper and not sell books. I don’t read on-screen. I always have five, 10 books next to my bed.”

The awards would help put literature “back in the hearts of people”, he said. “They know the streets of the townships, they know their grandparents’ struggles. If we don’t encourage the writing of stories, what else have we got?”

The two major awards will be called the Sunday Times CNA Literary Award for Nonfiction and the Sunday Times CNA Literary Award for Fiction. Trisk also plans to introduce a new prize called the Alan Paton Lifetime Achievement award.

While prize money for winning authors is still under wraps, Trisk said details would be announced soon. 


Submissions are invited from publishers for the 2021 Sunday Times CNA Awards for Non-fiction and Fiction.

Publishers are asked to please read the entry rules procedures carefully to understand how many books they can enter.

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

The list of titles that publishers wish to enter should reach the convenors by e-mail no later than Monday  November 23 2020. 

PLEASE NOTE: Books received after the due date will not be eligible for consideration and will not be considered for the following year’s awards.


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