Read the South African Entries for the 2016 PEN International New Voices Award

10 Nov 2016
Read the South African Entries for the 2016 PEN International New Voices Award

The annual PEN International New Voices Award provides a space for young and unpublished writers to promote their work. It also aims to encourage new writing in the more than 104 countries that PEN operates in as PEN Centres put forward young writers to be considered for the award. This year Laura Legge, who was nominated by PEN Canada, was named the winner for her short story “Dress Rehearsal” at the PEN International Congress held in Galicia, Spain in September.

Karina M. Szczurek chaired the panel of judges who chose Beatrice Willoughby and James Clarke as PEN South Africa’s nominees for this year. She was joined on the judging panel by Christine Coates, Jacqui L’Ange, Mark Winkler and Louanne van Riet. PEN Afrikaans nominated Frederick J Botha who was longlisted for this year’s New Voices Award.

Read Willoughby, Clarke and Botha’s entries as well as our Q&As with these young writers:

“Reading the twelve PEN South Africa New Voices Award nominees this year, it was difficult to imagine that the writers were mostly unpublished and not even thirty-years-old. The quality of the entries was high, ranging from good to excellent. It is a joy to see young talent at work in our country. It gives one a lot of hope for local writing of the future. The sentiments about individual submissions were quite uniform among the judges, our shortlist was impressive, and the decision about the finalists nearly unanimous. We would like to encourage all participants to continue honing their craft.” – Karina M. Szczurek, chair of the PEN SA judging panel

Judging Panel for PEN South Africa’s 2016 New Voices Award Nominees

Karina M. SzczurekKarina M. Szczurek is the author of Truer than Fiction: Nadine Gordimer Writing Post-Apartheid South Africa as well as the editor of Touch: Stories of Contact, Encounters with André Brink, Contrary: Critical Responses to the Novels of André Brink (with Willie Burger), and the 2015 SSDA anthology, Water: New Short Fiction from Africa (with Nick Mulgrew). Her play for young adults A Change of Mind won the MML Literature Award in the Category English Drama in 2012. She also writes short stories, essays and literary criticism. Her debut novel Invisible Others was published in 2014.

Christine CoatesChristine Coates is a poet and writer from Cape Town. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town. She has an interest in life-writing or memoir, and the recovery of personal history through public and private imagery. She has undertaken the 800km pilgrimage across Spain, on the Camino de Compostela, and written an account of it. Her stories and poems have been published in various literary journals. Her debut collection Homegrown, published in 2014, by Modjaji Books, received an honourable mention from the Glenna Luschei Prize. Her poems have been selected for the EU Sol Plaatje Poetry anthologies every year since inception: 2011 – 2016, and Best “New” African Poets 2015 Anthology. Her short stories have been highly commended; “The Cat’s Wife” in ADULTS ONLY, the Short.Sharp.Stories anthology 2014, “How We Look Now” in WATER, the Short Story Day Africa anthology 2015, and “A Night to Remember” won the runner-up prize in The Short Story Is Dead! Long Live The Short Story! Vol. 2, 2016. She recently participated in the inaugural Rutanang Book Fair in Potchefstroom.

Jacqui L’AngeJacqui L’Ange is a Cape Town based author, editor, and scriptwriter. She left journalism to run amok in multimedia during the dotcom boom, before becoming books editor for Psychologies Magazine and O – the Oprah Magazine. She has a Masters degree in Creative Writing from UCT. She is the author of The Seed Thief (Umuzi), as well as two BookDash books for children – Miss Helen’s Magical World and Shongololo’s Shoes.



Mark WinklerMark Winkler is the author of three novels, An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Absolutely Everything, Wasted, and The Safest Place You Know (September 2016). Wasted was longlisted for the Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Prize in 2016, and is currently being translated for international French-language publication in 2017. Film rights to the novel have been optioned by Hollywood’s River’s Edge Films. Winkler’s short story “Ink” was awarded third prize by Short Story Day Africa in 2016, and “When I came home” was shortlisted for the 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Winkler is an internationally-awarded creative director, and lives in Cape Town with his family.

Louanne van RietLouanne van Riet is a bookseller and launch organiser at the Book Lounge.





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