Writers Terry Kurgan and Siphiwe Ndlovu celebrated at the 2019 Sunday Times Literary Awards

Johannesburg, 6 September 2019:  The winners of the 2019 Sunday Times Literary Awards were announced at an event held at The Empire Conference & Events Venue in Parktown, on Friday, 6 September. The Sunday Times Literary Awards are considered the most prestigious literary accolade in South Africa.

“This was a special and significant year for the Sunday Times Literary Awards. It marked the 30th anniversary of the coveted Alan Paton Award. Both winners showcase once again the best in South African writing, and the prizes continue to signify the dedication that the Sunday Times has to our local literature,” said Sunday Times Books Editor Jennifer Platt.

The 2019 Sunday Times Literary Award winners and their books (L-R): Terry Kurgan and Siphiwe Ndlovu

Alan Paton Award for non-fiction

Terry Kurgan received the Alan Paton Award for non-fiction for her book, “Everyone is Present: Essays on Photography, Family and Memory” (Fourthwall Books). This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Alan Paton Award which has, over the decades, showcased the most acute and incisive non-fiction writing in South Africa.

Kurgan’s book was selected by a panel chaired by award-winning writer, journalist and filmmaker, Sylvia Vollenhoven, alongside journalist Paddi Clay, and Professor Tinyiko Maluleke from the Centre of Advancement of Scholarship at the University of Pretoria.

The judges called it “a compassionate, mesmerising tale of a time and place and the singular journey of remarkable people.”

Barry Ronge Fiction Prize

The Barry Ronge Fiction Prize was awarded to Siphiwe Ndlovu for her book, “The Theory of Flight” (Penguin Fiction). The Barry Ronge Fiction Prize, now in its 19th year, honours the authors who enthral with their imagined worlds.

Writer and book critic Ken Barris chaired the panel which included journalist Nancy Richards, and writer Wamuwi Mbao, in deciding on Ndlovu for “The Theory of Flight”.  The panel described it as “utterly captivating and image-rich, a beautifully resolved magical-realist novel.”

Kurgan and Ndlovu each receive a R100 000 prize.


Notes to Editor:

Sylvia Vollenhoven – Chair of Alan Paton Award

Vollenhoven is a writer, journalist and filmmaker whose work has won many awards including the 2016 Mbokodo Award for Literature and the Adelaide Tambo Award for Human Rights in the Arts. Vollenhoven was the SA producer for the BBC mini-series Mandela the Living Legend, and is also a Knight Fellow, funded by the John S and James L Knight Foundation with additional support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Tinyiko Maluleke

Professor Tinyiko Maluleke is a prominent South African academic based at the University of Pretoria. He has held various executive management positions at South African universities, is an elected member of the Academy of Science for South Africa, and an NRF-rated researcher. Maluleke is a columnist for the Mail & Guardian and Sunday Independent newspapers, and also reviews books for the Sunday Times.

Paddi Clay

Clay has more than 40 years of experience in the media, covering radio, print, and online journalism. She has a BA Degree in English and Drama from UCT and an MA in Journalism Leadership from the University of Central Lancashire, UK. She has reported for the Rand Daily Mail and Capital Radio, and wrote for the FT and US News and World Report. A life-long campaigner for freedom of expression and a free, independent, media, she spent 15 years as head of the Graduate Journalism Training Programme at what is now Tiso Blackstar and retired in January 2017. She continues to coach and lecture.

Ken Barris – Chair of the Barry Ronge Fiction Prize

Barris is a writer, editor and photographer, and former academic. His fiction has been translated into German, Danish and Turkish, and he has won various literary awards for novels, short stories and poetry. These include the Ingrid Jonker Prize, M-Net Book Prize, Thomas Pringle Award, University of Johannesburg and the Herman Charles Bosman Prize.

Nancy Richards

Richards is an independent journalist with many years of experience in radio and print. She is the founder of NPO: Woman Zone and the Women’s Library (initiatives to encourage women of different backgrounds, cultures and communities to share their stories with one another). She’s the author of ‘Beautiful Homes‘ and co-author of two books – ‘Woman Today: 50 Years of South African Women on Radio‘ and ‘Being a Woman in Cape Town‘. Richards is a speaker, media trainer and proud to be a board member of Soil for Life – a non-profit that helps people learn how to grow healthy, organic food.

Wamuwi Mbao

Mbao is a writer and essayist. He reviews fiction for the Johannesburg Review of Books, and teaches South African literature at Stellenbosch University. His short story “The Bath” was listed as one of the 20 best stories of SA’s democracy.

For media enquiries or to request interviews with Jennifer Platt (Sunday Times Books editor), or chairpersons of the judging panels, please contact Samantha Pugh.

Please visit the following dropbox link:  https://www.dropbox.com/sh/tpmfvflfi05ce15/AACkJ5pw6JQNDSt7HK9v-R0Aa?dl=0 for high res high res images of the book covers.

Issued by:                Samantha Pugh, Pugh Public Relations & Corporate Communications

e: sam@pughpr.co.za   c:  071 874 5460

On behalf of:           Jennifer Platt and Michele Magwood, conveners of the Sunday Times Literary Awards

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