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2017 Sanlam Prizes for Youth Literature

Sanlam and Tafelberg, an imprint of NB Publishers, are proud to announce the winners of the 2017 Sanlam Prizes for Youth Literature, recognizing the rich diversity and talent in local youth literature. The prizes, awarded for new manuscripts, were just announced in Johannesburg.

A record number of 134 entries were received in the three categories – English (55 entries), African languages (46 entries in eight languages) and Afrikaans (33 entries) – with two winners (gold and silver) chosen in each category. Prize money totaling R90 000 was awarded, with Sanlam increasing the prize amounts to R20 000 for gold and R10 000 for silver in each category.

The eclectic range of winning titles includes stories of abuse, cyber bullying, the disintegration of families, post-apocalyptic survival and forbidden love, and reflects issues young people of today grapple and can identify with.

The 2017 winners are:
• Lesley Beake won gold for Hap, described by the judges as “a well-structured and beautifully written coming-of-age story”. In it, a troubled teenager travels from New York to South Africa to spend time with her father on an archaeological site, where she identifies with the fossil of a young woman whom she names Hap. Lesley lives in Stanford.

• Jayne Bauling won silver for New Keepers, which, according to the judges, “has the feel of a Lauren Beukes novel crossed with Hunger Games”. Set in a post-apocalyptic future, it follows a boy who advertises a trip into the Wildlands for those seeking adventure. In 2013, Bauling won gold for Dreaming of Light. Jayne lives in White River.

African Languages
• Gold went to isiZulu writer Dumisani Hlatswayo for Imibala Yothando (“The Colours of Love”), 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. Dumisani lives in Somerset East.

• Debut author Lebohang Pheko won silver for Mamello (Sesotho), a “perfect tale of overcoming adversity”, with the power of education and forgiveness as key themes. Its main character, Mamello, is a young girl who is not allowed to attend school but dreams of becoming a human rights lawyer. Lebohang lives in Virginia.

• Carin Krahtz, author of the much lauded Elton April youth novels, won gold for Blou is nie ’n kleur nie, a story about the disintegration of a dysfunctional suburban family, as told from the perspective of 16-year-old Vicky. The judges called this a universal, gut-wrenching tale tempered with witty dialogue and humour. Carin lives in Centurion.

• Jan Vermeulen won silver for Soen, “a page-turner with countless twists and turns” about a popular and gifted head boy whose unhealthy obsession with a young teacher nearly costs him his life. In 2002, Vermeulen won gold for Geraamtes dra nie klere nie. Jan lives in Despatch.

The winning manuscripts were developed and are published by Tafelberg and are available in both print and e-book format. Manuscripts were judged anonymously so that debut writers were able to compete on an equal footing with established authors.

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