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“I wanted to write a dystopian story away from the formula of the Hunger Games” – Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature winner, Jayne Bauling

Jayne Bauling won silver at the recent Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature ceremony for New Keepers, which, according to the judges, “has the feel of a Lauren Beukes novel crossed with Hunger Games.”

Jayne Bauling, author of New Keepers. ©Hanneri de Wet

 

Jabz, from the poor margins of post-apocalypse city Gauzi, takes a motley crew of citizens from the city’s privileged Sprawll on a journey of exploration – to the Wildlands. Motivated by strange visions and messages he has received, Jabz and his crew must reach the mountain of his vision, where it will be revealed which one of the group will be the leader of the Wilders who will start a rebellion against the controlling City Minders.

Jayne’s YA novels have been awarded the Macmillan Writer’s Prize for Africa and the Maskew Miller Longman Literature Award. Her Sanlam Prize winner Dreaming of Light is prescribed for Gr 11 FAL by the DBE. She lives in Mpumalanga Province in South Africa.

Listen to NB Publishers’ recent interview with Jayne:

 

New Keepers

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Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature winners publish exciting new isiZulu and Sesotho books

Nal’ibali Column 18: Term 14, as published in the Sunday World (26 November 2017), Daily Dispatch (27 November 2017) and Herald (30 November 2017)

 

By Carla Lever

How hard is it to write a 25 000 word story – one that’s compelling and exciting to young people?

Ask Lebohang Pheko and Dumisani Hlatswayo. They’ve just been awarded prizes in the Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature. Along with four other authors writing in English and Afrikaans, their winning books – Pheko’s in Sesotho and Hlatswayo’s in isiZulu – are published and available for purchase both online (takealot.com) and in selected bookstores nation-wide.

“It took me almost a year, including the editing of the manuscript going forth and back from Tafelberg publishers,” said Lebohang Pheko of her book, Mamello. For Dumisani Hlatswayo, writing had to happen after hours when he came back from his copywriting job. “This one took me 2 months to research, another 2 months to write the first draft and one month to edit.”

Lebohang Pheko, author of Mamello

 
The discipline and time commitment proved worth it: their books for young people join the ranks of new South African stories that the competition has published since it began in 1980.

If there’s been a big story to this year’s award, it’s been one of success. With an increase of 60 submissions from previous numbers, there were record competition entries in 2017. Sponsors Sanlam generously matched this with increased prize money for the winners: R20 000 for Gold award and R10 000 for Silver.

There was more good news for language activists: entries were strong across all three categories, with 55 English, 46 Indigenous language and 33 Afrikaans submissions. “There can be few more worthwhile endeavors than enabling young people to read books reflecting their own realities in their own language,” said Eloise Wessels, managing director of Media24 Books, of which NB Publishers and Tafelberg form part. Wessels added that mother tongue stories “play a key role in promoting literacy and a love for books, bringing lifelong rewards.”

Thirty-seven year old Gold Award winner Dumisani Hlatswayo was born in Soweto with ink in his veins. By the age of 14 he had already had a short story in isiZulu published – Isibhobo. This was followed by a flurry of other work: he’s been a finalist for the Maskew Millar Longman awards, had a radio drama aired and currently works as a copywriter.

Dumisani Hlatswayo, author of Imibala Yothando

 
Hlatswayo’s winning story, Imibala Yothando (“The Colours of Love”), is described as “a riveting tale of love, betrayal, jealousy and growing up in the social media era.” It centres on Sinenhlanhla, who is sent to a new school in Soweto, where she falls prey to a cyber bully.

For silver award winner Lebohang Pheko, the story was somewhat different. In Virginia in the Free State, her mother singlehandedly raised three girls, of which Pheko was the youngest. Although she had dreams of becoming a lawyer, money was tight and life had other plans: she was married and had two children by her early twenties. Throughout all of this, she leapt up her own creative pursuits: movies, drawing, reading, but most of all, writing stories.

Pheko’s prize winning Sesotho story, Mamello, takes on all these elements, weaving what the judges described as a “perfect tale of overcoming adversity” about a young girl who is not allowed to attend school but dreams of becoming a human rights lawyer.

“On the day I heard I was nominated, it was good news for me,” said Pheko. “But when I heard that I won the competition and was heading to the awards, I just couldn’t believe it! I was over the moon, but also full of amazement.”

In no small part, the competition’s 2017 successes have been as a result of a conscious drive from all concerned. A ‘250 words a day’ campaign was launched, where well-known authors gave feedback and mentorship to encourage entrants to get over the line. Writing’s a solitary occupation, so constant tips and encouragement can go a long way – especially for first time authors, many of whom had never written long form work before.

“An incredible 48 entries were received from debut writers, which reflects the success of the campaign,” said Michelle Cooper, publisher of children and young adult fiction at Tafelberg. Cooper added that it’s not merely quantity of entries that the competition draws, but quality too: in the 37 years the competition has existed, nearly 80 stories have gone on to be prescribed for schoolchildren as setworks.

How important is hooking children on stories and making available books in their own languages? “As a young person growing in Limpopo there were quite a few isiZulu books I could relate to,” Hlatswayo said. “In fact, the best way to inspire more people to read and write stories in their own languages is to make those kinds of books available.”

Of course, now there are two more books to add to those libraries! Mamello and Imibala Yothando are available and adding to the number of home-grown stories South Africans can be proud to call their own.

Feeling inspired? Now’s the perfect time to start planning your world-changing new novel: entries for the 2019 Sanlam Prizes for Youth Literature are now open. Entry forms are available at www.nb.co.za and the closing date is 5 October 2019. Make 2018 a year of celebrating the stories within your world.

Reading and telling stories with your children is a powerful gift to them. It builds knowledge, language, imagination and school success! For more information about the Nal’ibali campaign, or to access children’s stories in a range of South African languages, visit: www.nalibali.org.

Mamello

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Imibala Yothando

2017 Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature: an interview with Lesley Beake, who won gold for her novel Hap

Lesley Beake’s young adult novel, Hap, recently won gold in the category ‘English’ in the 2017 Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature. The judges described Hap as “a well-structured and beautifully written coming-of-age story.”

Description

Lucy, a 16-year-old girl from New York, is recovering from a recent traumatic experience. She joins her father at the fictional Barclay Bay, on South Africa’s west coast, where she slowly makes sense of her ordeal. But Lucy cannot help but also be affected by the characters around her, including that of Hap, an early ancestor who lived in the area, and whose experiences Lucy, in a state of heightened emotion and perception, seems to sense.

Lesley Beake, author of Hap. © Hannerie de Wet

 
Listen to NB Publishers’ recent interview with Lesley:

 

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Johannesburg launch: The Camp Whore by Francois Smith (15 November)

It is the First World War and Susan Nell stands before the door of a private ward in a British military hospital. On the door she reads a single name. She knows that name. Sixteen years ago, during the Anglo-Boer War, she encountered that name in a concentration camp in Winburg. She lifts her hand to open the door. Her hand shakes uncontrollably. But she is a psychiatric nurse and this is what she has to do, bring traumatised soldiers back to the light. However, if this soldier is the one who sixteen years ago thrust all light out of you with his hips, it is not that obvious. Susan Nell hesitates before she opens the door, desperately uncertain – teetering on the threshold between life and death.

The Camp Whore is the true story of a woman who was brutally raped during the Anglo-Boer War and left for the vultures. With the help of a number of benefactors she escapes the clutches of death and dedicates her life to the healing of exactly the kind of trauma to which she was subjected. And in the process re-encounters her rapists . . .

In The Camp Whore the resilience of the human spirit is weighed up against the equally persistent influence of trauma. It is a psychological thriller that will hold you in its icy grip till the very last page.

Event Details

Entries for the 2019 Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature are now open!

This is your chance to become a published author!

Since its inception in 1980, the prestigious Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature has consistently rewarded work of outstanding quality, becoming a trusted brand among both the general book-buying public and the educational sector.

Prizes worth R75 000 are up for grabs and prize-winning authors will get their books published by Tafelberg Publishers, catapulting their writing career to the next level.

Get your entry form here: www.nb.co.za/Sanlam. The closing date is 5 October 2018. | Jy kan nou inskryf vir die 2019-Sanlampryse vir Jeuglektuur. Kry jou inskrywingsvorm hier: www.nb.co.za/Sanlam. Die sluitingsdatum is 5 Oktober 2018.

NB Publishers unable to establish the nature of the complaints against Jacques Pauw

The President's Keeper

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Cape Town launch: The Camp Whore by Francois Smith (14 November)

It is the First World War and Susan Nell stands before the door of a private ward in a British military hospital. On the door she reads a single name. She knows that name. Sixteen years ago, during the Anglo-Boer War, she encountered that name in a concentration camp in Winburg. She lifts her hand to open the door. Her hand shakes uncontrollably. But she is a psychiatric nurse and this is what she has to do, bring traumatised soldiers back to the light. However, if this soldier is the one who sixteen years ago thrust all light out of you with his hips, it is not that obvious. Susan Nell hesitates before she opens the door, desperately uncertain – teetering on the threshold between life and death.

The Camp Whore is the true story of a woman who was brutally raped during the Anglo-Boer War and left for the vultures. With the help of a number of benefactors she escapes the clutches of death and dedicates her life to the healing of exactly the kind of trauma to which she was subjected. And in the process re-encounters her rapists . . .

In The Camp wWhore the resilience of the human spirit is weighed up against the equally persistent influence of trauma. It is a psychological thriller that will hold you in its icy grip till the very last page.

Event Details

State Security Agency lays charges against The President’s Keepers author, Jacques Pauw

The President's Keeper

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Truly unique, Nataniël’s Closet offers a visual celebration as exceptional as its author

Closet
Truly unique, Closet offers a visual celebration as exceptional as its author.

As Nataniël looks back on his 30-year career in show business, he takes us into his closet, showing his first self-made costumes, introducing his three designers and sharing close-up details of the most astounding costumes from his shows. He shares magazine covers and photo sessions, sometimes i in exotic locations, and discusses his favourite colours.

Also with catalogues, and magazine and CD covers, Closet is a visual feast, a collector’s item and an ode to an exceptional South African artist.

Nataniël was born in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape. He studied music at Stellenbosch University and first became popular as a cabaret and stage artist, but since the 1990s has also built a reputation as a writer, columnist and celebrity chef. His most recent book, 150 Stories, dominated the bestseller charts for weeks on end.
 
 
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Unprecedented turnout at the launch of Jacques Pauw’s The President’s Keepers. Take that, SSA.

Peter Bruce in conversation with Jacques Pauw at the Exclusive Books, Hyde Park launch of The President’s Keepers. Pic: Exclusive Books.

 

The scene was set: a crowd nearing 1000 people. Former editor of Business Day and the Financial Mail, Peter Bruce, clad in a dapper waistcoat, whip smart mind at the ready. Photographers. Journalists. Bodyguards. Extra monitors placed on upstairs levels for those unable to find seating downstairs. And investigative journalist par excellence, Jacques Pauw, comfortably seated in a swivel chair.

Yes, the Johannesburg launch of the exceptional political exposé which is Pauw’s The President’s Keepers, a body of work exposing those keeping Jacob Zuma in power (think Guptas. Think mafia. Think Russian connections.) was about to kick off – with meaning.

And then, forty minutes into their conversation, the power tripped. Eina.

But before the whole of Hyde Park was engulfed in darkness (one bonus – no one had to pay for their parking tickets!), the CEO of Exclusive Books, Benjamin Trisk, opened the event by stating that this is probably the largest audience Exclusive Books has ever had – overshadowing Redi Tlhabi’s launch of Khwezi a few months ago by a margin.

Don’t believe him? See for yourself:

“I’d like to thank our marketing agency, the State Security Agency,” Trisk quipped to the audience’s delight. This comment was made in reference to NB Publishers, the publishers of The President’s Keepers, who had received a cease-and-desist letter from the SSA demanding that the book be withdrawn and certain parts of the book retracted.

Having sold out on the first day, with another 30 000 copies published little over a week after its initial publication date, and all 980 copies which were on sale at the launch sold out before the launch began (people were queuing for an hour), the sales of this book have been unprecedented and the attempt to censor it has only fueled South Africans’ curiosity.

“This is insane,” Bruce laughed. “I first read this book about two months ago. It was so terrifying I had to keep on leaving the room. He is so courageous; so relentless.”

(A similar comment was made by another reader, currently halfway through the book: “I actually wish I wasn’t reading it. What Pauw’s exposing is sordid. Simply sordid.”)

Pauw said he’s expecting even bigger reactions from law enforcement agencies. “If only they can sue us; we can have a court case, but it’s not going to help the state. South Africa’s legal reaction at the moment shows complete idiocy in law enforcement agencies.”

This book is of relevance to all tax-paying South Africans, with Pauw stating that “[I]n the space of two to three years, over a billion rand of your money was spent on the PAN-project,” adding that the director general of the SSA, Arthur Fraser, forged former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils’s signature on the document which condones this intelligence programme.

Fraser’s family is considering taking legal steps against Pauw, for exposing Fraser to be what he truly is – one of the (many) Zuma keepers.

The installation of a server in Fraser’s house which gave him direct access to state security secrets can be added to the list of crimes and misdemeanours committed by those currently governing our country.

And Pauw doesn’t stop at Fraser…

The auditor general has no insight into the budget of the state, Pauw declares. Light is shed on the mysterious break-ins at the office of the Chief Justice. South Africa’s National Protection Agency is named (and shamed) as having a hand in ensuring Zuma’s corruption-ridden party remains in power.

Riveted? So were we. Unfortunately Eskom thought otherwise.

The blackout didn’t deter Pauw or the stalwart bibliophiles, with Pauw signing books (by cellphone light) until 23:30. Ja-nee, kyk. Pauw and our concerned, conscious South Africans aren’t going anywhere.

Take that, SSA.

The President's Keeper

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