The shortlist for 2014 Sunday Times Literary Awards has been released, ahead of the announcement of the winners on 28 June 2014.
Fiction Prize shortlist
The Alan Paton Award shortlist for non-fiction:
A Rumour of Spring: South Africa after 20 Years of Democracy by Max du Preez
My Second Initiation: The Memoir of Vusi Pikoli by Vusi Pikoli & Mandy Wiener
Portrait of a Slave Society: The Cape of Good Hope 1717 - 1795 by Karel Schoeman
The Concentration Camps of the Anglo-Boer War: A Social History by Elizabeth van Heyningen
Richard Rive: a Partial Biography by Shaun Viljoen
The Sunday Times Fiction Prize shortlist:
The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
False River by Dominic Botha
Penumbra by Songeziwe Mahlangu
The Spiral House by Claire Robertson
Wolf Wolf by Eben Venter
"The shortlists acknowledge the work of South African authors who have produced outstanding writing. This year's non-fiction shortlist features a host of 'state of the nation books' in competition with literary biography and investigations into South Africa's past, while the fiction shortlist contains an interesting mix of different genres, including historical fiction and, in one novel, both speculative fiction and crime. It is not going to be an easy task selecting the respective winners," commented Ben Williams, Sunday Times books editor.
Alan Paton shortlist
Alan Paton Award in 25th year
2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award, awarded annually to a book that presents, in the words of the criteria, "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 this anniversary year, the books that have come our way have a large and refreshing element of randomness. The titles convey the spread of political, economic, social and cultural concerns, the excitement and the breadth, and the pleasure and the distraction, which should characterise all good non-fiction writing," said Bill Nasson, who chaired this year's Alan Paton Award judging panel.
The criteria for the Sunday Times Fiction Prize require that the winning book 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." Annari van der Merwe, chairperson of the Sunday Times Fiction Prize judging panel and founding publisher of Kwela Books (Naspers) and Umuzi (Random House), said, "The picture of our society that emerges from this year's submissions is not a cheerful one, however we feel that there are some exceptional books in the running this year. The novels on the long list explore practically every pressing social ill - corruption, greed, violence, drug addiction, alcoholism, the rape and abuse of women and children, the plight of minorities. Mostly, the novels were well designed and we were struck by the generally high quality of the technical editing. Judging an award of this calibre is no easy task."
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