Awarded by the UK’s Royal Society of Literature to an outstanding work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry that best evokes the spirit of a place, the Ondaatje Prize is yet to be won by a South African.
Poland’s deeply poignant novel is set in the Eastern Cape of the late 1800s and tells the story of a black South African Anglican deacon, Stephen (Malusi) Mzamane, trained in England but now marooned in a rundown mission in Fort Beaufort, where he battles the prejudices of colonial society.
Selected by judges Samira Ahmed (Chair), Roger Robinson and Joelle Taylor, Poland shares the list with eight more writers. The shortlist will be announced on 24 April, with the winner announced on 10 May.
Winner of the 2021 SUNDAY TIMES Prize, A SIN OF OMISSION had also been shortlisted for the 2020 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. The novel is published in South Africa by Penguin Random House. The Lennon-Ritchie Agency sold UK rights to EnvelopeBooks. For rights enquiries, contact the agency.
February proved an excellent month for novelist and filmmaker Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu. Her latest novel, THE QUALITY OF MERCY, won Zimbabwe’s National Arts Merit Award (NAMA) in the Outstanding Fiction category. NAMA is administered by the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe and is the country’s highest honour.
February also brought news that her story ‘The Postman’ in THE YALE REVIEW were among three pieces that secured the journal’s shortlisting for the American Society of Magazine Editors’ Award for Fiction.
‘This is definitely a great time to be a Zimbabwean writer,’ Ndlovu said in a recent interview for WORLD LITERATURE TODAY. Click here to read the interview.
For available rights to Ndlovu’s work, click here.
Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia’s book, THE SON OF THE HOUSE, has won one of the world’s richest literary prizes, the Nigeria Prize for Literature. The prize comes with an award of $100 000 USD, sponsored by Nigeria LNG Limited.
The awards ceremony was held at the Eko Hotel and Suites in Victoria Island, Lagos on October 30th. Onyemelukwe-Onuobia was there to accept the award and shared her delight on Instagram saying, “My heart is full”.
The jury of judges was chaired by Professor Olutoyin Jegede of the English department at the University of Ibadan. Also on the panel was Professor Tanimu Abubakar from Ahmadu Bello University and Dr Solomon Azumurana from the University of Lagos.
THE SON OF THE HOUSE is Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia’s debut novel. It was published in South Africa by Penguin Random House in 2019 and in North America by Dundurn Press in 2021. It has also been, or will soon be, published in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Armenia and across the world in Arabic.
The story revolves around an encounter under duress between Nwabulu and Julie, two women from vastly different backgrounds. They’re united by the same societal pressure: to marry and reproduce. Set in Nigeria, the novel is alive with local culture and family drama. It uplifts the resilience of women navigating patriarchal society.
Strong female characters were a recurring theme on the Nigeria Prize for Literature’s shortlist. The other two finalists were THE GIRL WITH THE LOUDING VOICE by Abi Daré (published by Dutton Books) and COLOURS OF HATRED by Obinna Udenwe (also published by Parresia Publishers). Onyemelukwe-Onuobia is a lawyer, academic and writer of Nigerian origin who is based in both Nigeria and Canada. She graduated with a doctorate in law from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia and works primarily in the areas of health, gender, and violence against women and children.
Congratulations to Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia! Her book, THE SON OF THE HOUSE, has been shortlisted for the prestigious Scotiabank Giller Prize. The shortlist, comprising just five books, was announced on Tuesday, 5 October.
Of THE SON OF THE HOUSE, the jury said: “It is a delightful gift to find a book you feel fortunate to have read, akin to discovering a treasure. That is the case with The Son of the House. The novel explores issues of patriarchy and classism, themes of friendship and loss through the lenses of two very different yet unexpectedly connected women in Nigeria. Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia writes a modern novel with fairytale elements and prose that punches you in the gut, leaving you wonderfully stunned by the time the book is finished.”
THE SON OF THE HOUSE is Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia’s debut novel, published in South Africa by Penguin Random House in 2019 and in North America by Dundurn Press in 2021. It has also been published in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Armenia and the United Arab Emirates. It shares the Scotiabank Giller Prize shortlist with Omar El Akkad’s WHAT STRANGE PARADISE (published by McClelland & Stewart, an imprint of Penguin Random House Canada), Angélique Lalonde’s story collection GLORIOUS FRAZZLED BEINGS (published by House of Anansi), Jordan Tannahill’s THE LISTENERS (published by HarperCollins Canada) and Miriam Toews’ FIGHT NIGHT (published by Knopf Canada, an imprint of Penguin Random House Canada).
The plot revolves around an encounter under duress between Nwabulu and Julie, two women from vastly different backgrounds. They’re united by the same societal pressure: to marry and reproduce. Set in Nigeria, the novel is alive with local culture and family drama. It uplifts the resilience of women navigating patriarchal society.
Onyemelukwe-Onuobia is a lawyer, academic and writer of Nigerian origin who is based in both Nigeria and Canada. She graduated with a doctorate in law from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia and works primarily in the areas of health, gender, and violence against women and children.
THE SON OF THE HOUSE has been met with critical acclaim. It won the SprinNG Women Author Prize 2020. It also received the Best International Fiction Book Award at the Sharjah International Book Fair 2019.
The Scotiabank Giller Prize rewards outstanding Canadian fiction. It was established by businessman Jack Rabinovitch in honour of his late wife, author Doris Giller, in 1994. Scotiabank came on board in 2005, quadrupling the financial value of the award. The 2021 winner will receive $100 000 and each finalist $10 000.
The 2021 Scotiabank Giller Prize jury is chaired by Canadian author Zalika Reid-Benta. She is assisted by fellow writers Megan Gail Coles, Joshua Whitehead, Tash Aw and Joshua Ferris. Of the 132 works submitted for the prize, twelve were longlisted and five shortlisted.
The winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize will be announced on 8 November at a ceremony in Toronto hosted by Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Rupi Kaur.
Congratulations to Marguerite Poland! Her novel, A SIN OF OMISSION, won the 2021 Fiction Prize of the Sunday Times CNA Literary Awards.
The chair of the judging panel, author Ken Barris, said: “Poland is in scathing form in her heartbreaking tale of a young black missionary in the Eastern Cape.”
A SIN OF OMISSION is the fifth novel by acclaimed author Marguerite Poland. The book is published in South Africa by Penguin Random House and will be published in the UK by Envelope Books early next year. The novel was shortlisted for the 2020 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.
The book tells the story of Stephen, a young Black Anglican priest in the Victorian Era. When he must return to his rural homeland to inform his mother of his brother’s death, long-held conflicts emerge. Torn between allegiance to his people and the Cape’s colonial powers, Stephen must finally confront the contradictions of his life.
Poland is an awardee of the South African Order of Ikhamanga in Silver. Her expertise in African linguistics and anthropology bring Stephen’s world to life. She is fluent in both isiXhosa and isiZulu.
The Sunday Times CNA Literary Awards were founded in 1989 by the weekly South African newspaper, The Sunday Times. The Fiction Prize is awarded to “a novel of rare imagination and style, evocative, textured and a tale so compelling as to become an enduring landmark of contemporary fiction.” The prize is R100 000.
This year’s awards were open to novels from both 2019 and 2020 due to the cancellation of last year’s prize during the coronavirus pandemic. The other shortlisted books were: BREAKING MILK by Dawn Garisch (published by Karavan Press), THE HISTORY OF MAN by Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu (published by Penguin Fiction, an imprint of Penguin Random House South Africa), SCATTERLINGS by Rešoketšwe Manenzhe (published by Jacana Media) and DUE SOUTH OF COPENHAGEN by Mark Winkler (published by Umuzi, an imprint of Penguin Random House South Africa).
Joining Ken Barris on the judging panel were Nancy Richards, an author and independent journalist, and Wamuwi Mbao, a writer and essayist.
When you are accustomed to the finer things in life – designer shoes, champagne, VIP lounges, exotic holidays abroad, a luxury penthouse, expensive wheels – what independent young woman in her right mind would want to let them go?
‘In The Blessed Girl, Angela Makholwa has yet again given us a deceptively simple yet layered narrative, in which the plot is as memorable as the characters are unforgettable. Bravo.’ – ZUKISWA WANNER
THE BLESSED GIRL is published by Picador Africa and by Bloomsbury UK.
Claire Robertson’s 2014 Sunday Times Fiction Prize winner to be made into a film.
film-maker Erica Brumage has optioned film rights in the sweeping, gloriously
told literary historical novel THE SPIRAL HOUSE by Claire Robertson.
van der Caab, freed slave and wigmaker’s apprentice, travels with her eccentric
employer from Cape Town to Vogelzang, a remote farm where a hairless girl needs
their services. The year is 1794, it is the age of enlightenment, and on
Vogelzang the master is conducting strange experiments in human breeding and
classification. It is also here that Trijn falls in love.
Brumage says of the book, ‘Claire’s writing is so evocative and her
characters so authentic that one can clearly see them inhabiting their era,
hear the vivid cadences of their voices and smell and feel the dirt and sweat
of their lives… The Spiral House has an originality and vision that demands
On her vision for the adaptation, Brumage says, ‘Claire’s highly
original imagining of the origins of race classification which were to become
apartheid in the twentieth century is beautifully constructed as it unfolds
through the layers of interweaving love stories with richly rounded characters
that are human, fallible, sometimes horrific and entirely fascinating. The
tensions between them crackle with energy and dramatic promise, and the ebb and
flow of the narrative trajectories of the different character pairings create
richly dynamic threads against the backgrounds of the social hierarchies and
science of the age. I’m really excited by the performance potential that
exists for the cast of actors that we find for these roles.’
THE SPIRAL HOUSE, won the
2014Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Prize and a South
African Literary Award, and was shortlisted for the University of Johannesburg
Debut Prize. Robertson has two other novels, THE MAGISTRATE OF GOWER, shortlisted
for the 2016Sunday Times Fiction Prize, and UNDER GLASS
currently long-listed for the 2019 Sunday Times Fiction Prize.
All three books are
published by Umuzi, the literary imprint of Penguin Random House.
The acquisition was
negotiated by the Lennon-Ritchie Agency.
You must be logged in to post a comment.