Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE


@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Jacana Latest

2016 Dinaane Debut Fiction Award - judging underway

Dub StepsThe Story of Anna P, as Told by HerselfKhalil's JourneyDeeper Than ColourSaracen at the Gates
Till We Can Keep An AnimalCoconutBitches' BrewIce in the LungsThe Silent Minaret


Formerly known as the European Union Literary Award, the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award was established in 2004 with the intention of sustaining locally written fiction.

Annually, unpublished writers are invited to enter fiction manuscripts for the award. A panel of three judges reads each submission over a period of a few months in order to select a shortlist and overall winner. The overall winner receives a cash prize of R35,000, their manuscript is published by Jacana Media and the book is included in one of Exclusive Books’ sales campaigns. Additionally, for the first time a runner-up nominated by the judging panel will receive a writing mentorship to develop their work further. This is valued at R25,000, and made possible through a bequest from a previous winner of the award, the late Gerald Kraak.

Entries are judged blind, and publishing processes for the winning manuscript take place before the award ceremony at which the winner is announced and their book is revealed in print. For shortlisted entrants, that element of surprise adds a touch of magic and delight to the experience.

The panel have read each of the 38 manuscripts submitted for the 2015/16 award, and are currently motivating their selections.

The shortlist will be announced at the end of June 2016, once a consensus has been reached.

Reading for the Dinaane gives me strange dreams as the different stories start weaving together. There is a particularly eclectic set of submissions this year, from airport thrillers to teen fiction to meditations on the student movement to mythical histories and invented languages. You have to develop a way of comparing such different books, and mine is when I start realising that everything is coming together in a very interesting way, that I have stopped judging, and that I have been enveloped in a new imaginary world. It is going to be fascinating to see how our tastes compare, and then later on, finding out who wrote what.

- Pamela Nichols, chair of the judging panel

The Jacana Literary Foundation is thrilled that the three judges from last year are doing the adjudicating. Representing academic, journalistic and literary writing, they are: The word dinaane in Setswana means “telling our stories to one another”; it connotes the many strands of conversation that we weave into the common language of fiction.


Pamela NicholsChair of the panel, Pamela Nichols, helped found and is currently the director of the Wits Writing Centre, which is a resource for academic and creative writers. Since inception the WWC has produced 17 award-winning fiction writers and part-organised six literary festivals as well as promoting successful academic writing and writing intensive teaching. Nichols did her first degree at Sussex University, taught and studied at the American University of Beirut, did a teaching degree at the Institute of Education, before going to New York University where she completed a doctorate in comparative literature guided by the work of Edward Said.
Her published articles focus on writing centres, writing intensive teaching, writing programmes and democracy, and new South African writing. She is currently working on a book of creative nonfiction about Lebanon.
Maureen IsaacsonMaureen Isaacson is currently the Participatory Democracy Programme Manager at the Foundation for Human Rights, Johannesburg. She has participated in dialogues and written about politics, African and international relations as well as issues related to social justice and literature. She spent 21 years at Independent Newspapers in various capacities, most recently as literary editor, and was the recipient of SALAs (South African Literary Awards) South African Literary Journalist of the Year Award in 2009. In 2007, she was an Independent Newspapers fellow in Dublin, Belfast and London. Her writing has not been limited to literary journalism – she’s also a writer of fiction, travelogues and memoirs with experience in the South African publishing industry. Maureen adjudicated the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for the Africa Region in 2008 and the Sunday Times Alan Paton Non-Fiction Award in 2009 and 2010.
Fred KhumaloFred Khumalo is a renowned columnist and the author of Bitches’ Brew (Jacana 2006), which won the European Union Literary Prize in 2006, and the Unisa-prescribed set work Seven Steps to Heaven (Jacana 2007). His autobiography, Touch My Blood (Umuzi 2006) was shortlisted for the Alan Paton Prize for Non-Fiction in 2007. He holds a master’s degree in creative writing from Wits University, and was a Nieman Fellow in 2011-2012. His short stories and poems have appeared in various anthologies, literary journals and consumer magazines. Fred was formerly the editor of the Sunday Times Review, has worked in various capacities for newspapers in South Africa and overseas, and has won numerous awards for his journalistic work. He is currently a writing fellow at the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study.

Related news:

Book details