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“Coconut” Wins EU Literary Award

Kopano MatlwaIn a knockout blow for young voices, this year’s EU Literary Award jury – the daunting trio of Fred Khumalo, Bheki Peterson and Darryl Accone (who read no fewer than 42 novels during their deliberations, eish) have unanimously adjudged University of Cape Town medical student Kopano Matlwa’s novel, Coconut, as the 2006-7 winner.

The award, in its third year, was established to find great novels from South Africans who have never published before. (Previous winners include Khumalo himself.) Matlwa takes home R25,000 and a publishing contract with Jacana, plus travel to the Frankfurt Book Fair. Look for Coconut on shelves toward the end of April!

From the judge’s citation:

    Narrated from a teenager’s perspective, Kopano Matlwa’s Coconut is an audacious, lyrical and compassionate tale. It explores the grey, in-between, intimate experiences and dilemmas of a young girl who, like the society around her, is undergoing changes that call old boundaries, comforts and certitudes into question.

Kopano Matlwa and Carey-Ann JacksonThe runners-up included:

    Carey-Ann Jackson for Gorgon
    Hazel Frankel for Counting Sleeping Beauties
    Ian Campbell-Gillies for Hopetown
    Ruben Mowszowski for Time of Bees

The third annual European Union Literary Award was held at the Goethe-Institut on March 15.

For media enquiries or requests for interviews, please contact:
Lerato Ngakane
Phone: 011 628 3200

For sales enquiries:
Nteseng Thoane
Phone: 011 628 3222
Fax: 011 482 7282

About the book:

CoconutAn exciting young voice has emerged that reflects the idiosyncratic nature of our young democracy. Coconut is a story that deals with growing up as a black child in a white world. It is the story of black youth who grow up in white neighbourhoods, go to private schools and have white friends. As is the case with any child, all that these children want is to grow, to be loved; but most importantly, to fit in. Fitting in, however, comes at the cost of one’s blackness – too white for black, and too black for white.

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