Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature 2017 and “250 Words a Day” Campaign Launched

12 Apr 2016
Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature 2017 and “250 Words a Day” Campaign Launched

Deadline: 7 October 2016
Visit the competition website here

Press release:

Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature 2017 launched alongside “250 Words a Day” campaign

Entries for the 2017 Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature are now open!

However, writing a whole book can be daunting . . . “As Wealthsmiths, we have a deep understanding and respect for what it takes to turn 26 alphabetic letters into something that can make you cry, scared or make you love. A process that talks to commitment and determination, yet achievable for any person that has a love for the word. It is from this understanding that our campaign of “250 Words a Day” was born. We want this competition to be accessible to not only established authors, but also to young and upcoming writers,” says Elena Meyer (Senior Sponsorships Manager at Sanlam).

By joining the “250 Words a Day” campaign on Facebook, entrants will have access to a panel of renowned and established authors who will act as writing mentors. Would-be authors are encouraged to write 250 words every day. If they commit to this, they should have a manuscript ready to submit by the closing date. Not only will advice, inspiration and helpful writing tips be offered, but mentors will also read segments of manuscripts and respond to writers with useful feedback. Mentors include amongst others Paige Nick, Cat Hellisen, Fanie Viljoen, Redi Tlhabi and Kagiso Lesego.

According to Michelle Cooper (publisher of children and young adult fiction at Tafelberg) the Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature is vital in finding and developing new talent and to create literature of high quality for readers between 12 and 18 years of age. “We are excited about the 250 Words a Day campaign and are looking forward to discovering talented new writing voices!”

The Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature was launched in 1980 and is awarded every second year. It is open to entries in all 11 official languages. A gold and silver prize is awarded in the categories for African languages (Tshivenda, Xitsonga and Nguni & Sotho languages), Afrikaans and English.

A panel of readers will compile a shortlist of 18 manuscripts which will then be judged by representatives from the educational and trade book sector, librarians and academics. Manuscripts are judged anonymously so that debut writers are able to compete with established authors.

Over the years around 78 novels that were awarded the Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature have been prescribed as set work books in schools, while some have even been made into films — Lien se lankstaanskoene by Derick van der Walt and Die ongelooflike avonture van Hanna Hoekom written by Marita van der Vyver.

The total prize money amounts to R54 000: R12 000 for the winner (gold) and R6 000 for the runner-up (silver) in each category.

The prize-winning books will be available in bookshops and in e-book format. The closing date for entries is 7 October 2016.

To join the “250 Words a Day” campaign, visit
See entry form attached, or download at

(Image courtesy of Tafelberg)