Announcement of Winners – Thomas Pringle Awards 2011

07 Dec 2011

The English Academy of Southern Africa is pleased to announce the winners of the Thomas Pringle Awards. The Thomas Pringle Awards recognise writers who have demonstrated extraordinary insights in their work. Two of the three categories run this year have been finalised.

Category: Reviews

The 2011 Thomas Pringle Award for Reviews is awarded to Mary Corrigall for a portfolio of reviews published in The Sunday Independent.

The adjudicators of the award noted the following:

“In reading Corrigall’s reviews, one is struck by one outstanding quality – her acuity. Whether she is reading words on a page or looking at shapes and colours at an art or photography exhibition, Corrigall has a particularly rare capacity to see things sharply and keenly. Quite apart from Corrigall’s sharpness of perception, however, there is also a pleasing lucidity in the way she writes about the different media she focuses on. Her reviews are commendable, therefore, not only for their insights, but also for the crisp and energetic manner in which these insights are expressed.”

Mary Corrigall is an arts critic and senior feature writer at The Sunday Independent newspaper. She is also a research fellow at the Research Centre for Visual Identities in Art and Design, at the University of Johannesburg. Her articles have been widely published in magazines and newspapers, local and international art publications and peer-reviewed academic journals. In 2007 she won a coveted CNN African Journalism award and was awarded the Thomas Pringle Award for Reviews by the English Academy of Southern Africa in 2009. In the same year the European Commission awarded her a Lorenzo Natali award for Journalism.

The two other candidates who were shortlisted for this award are Robyn Sassen and Gwen Podbrey.

Robyn Sassen, a seasoned reviewer, is commended for the clarity and crispness of reviews that covered mainly theatre and art, encouraging audience attendance and offering terse insights.

Gwen Podbrey demonstrated that she is a master of conciseness in reviews that expose the reader to the possibilities and pleasures in a range of literary works, from pure fiction to works with a biographical slant.

Judges: Dr Lynda Gilfillan (Convener), Dr Glenda Cleaver and Ms Kate McCallu

Category: Educational Article

The 2011 Thomas Pringle Award for an article on English in education and the teaching of English published in a South African academic journal in 2009-2010 is awarded jointly to Aslam Fataar for his article “Youth self-formation and the ‘capacity to aspire': The itinerant ‘schooled career’ of Fuzile Ali across post-apartheid space”, which was published in Perspectives in Education 28(3), and to Charles van Renen for his article “Dahl’s chickens: How do they roost in the 21st century?”, published in the Journal for Language Teaching 43(2).

The judges were unanimous in making a joint award on the grounds that both articles make a highly valuable contribution to research in English teaching and learning in southern Africa: Fataar’s at a broad sociological level and van Renen’s at a more specific pedagogic level. Fataar demonstrates to us the complex contexts that lie behind our students’ schooling trajectories, while van Renen demonstrates the importance of literature in developing language competence in classrooms. In this sense, the two articles are complementary both in their foci and in their significance for English education in this country.

Aslam Fataar is currently Professor and Head of the Education Policy Studies Department at Stellenbosch University. He is a former lecturer at the University of the Western Cape. His area of interest is Sociology of Education and his research focuses on policy reform and education in urban spaces. He has authored one book, Education Policy Development in South Africa’s Democratic Transition, 1994-1997 (2010), and is currently completing a book on educational subjectivities in an urban context. He is a NRF B-rated scientist, which is an acknowledgement of international academic standing. Professor Fataar has also published widely in national and international journals. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal, the Southern African Review of Education. He is a recently appointed member of the Western Cape Education Council and a member of the UNESCO country committee on Education.

Charles van Renen
is a senior lecturer in the Education Faculty of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU). His field of specialisation is English methodology and children’s literature. Prior to his appointment at the NMMU he lectured at the Port Elizabeth campus of Vista University, was a senior research officer with the Molteno Project at Rhodes University, and a lecturer at the Graaff-Reinet Teachers’ College. Over the past few years he has published in journals such as Perspectives in Education, Journal for Language Teaching, Journal of Educational Studies and Journal of Literary Studies.

Judges: Professor Denise Newfield (convener), Dr Yvonne Reed and Mr David Robinson

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Each award consists of a cash prize and a prestigious certificate. The dates of the award ceremonies will be announced at a later stage.

For more information on English Academy awards, please contact Naomi Nkealah on 011 717 9339 or at englishacademy@societies.wits.ac.za. You can also visit the English Academy Web site www.englishacademy.co.za.

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