Celebrating 2014 Sunday Times Literary Awards, presented in association with Exclusive Books at a dinner held at Summer Place in Sandton, first time fiction writer Claire Robertson and political correspondent and commentator Max du Preez were awarded top honours.
Marking the 25th anniversary of the Alan Paton Award, Max du Preez claimed the prestigious prize for A Rumour of Spring, a considered examination of South Africa after 20 years of democracy.
Phylicia Oppelt and Barry Ronge
Lifetime achievement award
Robertson's debut novel, 'The Spiral House', a grand tale spanning two seminal periods in South African history, received the coveted Fiction Prize.
Former Sunday Times columnist and veteran entertainment journalist Barry Ronge, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Sunday Times editor Phylicia Oppelt, who said it was in appreciation of his lifelong dedication to his craft, his love of language and ability to write with refinement and dignity.
Oppelt also announced that henceforth, the Sunday Times Fiction Prize will be known as the Barry Ronge Fiction Prize, in recognition of Ronge's contribution not only to the Sunday Times, but to literature and writing in general. Claire Robertson is therefore the first recipient of this award.
Max Du Preez and Claire Robertson
Supporting local literature
Ben Williams, Sunday Times books editor said, "The Spiral House emerged as the unanimous winner in the tightly contested Fiction category. The judges called it an astonishingly adept and richly imagined novel, a layered, subtle story that resonates with important ideas about history. We applaud the sensuous quality of the writing and were amazed by its remarkable language."
Of the Alan Paton winner, Williams said. "The judges found this to be a bracing, opinionated read, 'vintage Max Du Preez'. They called it nuanced and well crafted, casting a rigorous critical eye not only on the powers that be, but on ordinary citizens and the writer himself. They concluded that it is the best of all the reflections on 20 years of democracy published last year.
"Once again the awards continue to recognise the best in South African writing, demonstrating the Sunday Times' commitment to promoting and supporting local literature. We congratulate the winners and acknowledge the excellent work done by the judging panels." said Williams.
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