Winners of 2019 Sanlam Prizes for Youth Literature announced

The winners of the 2019 Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature were announced in Joburg on October 31.

Sanlam and Tafelberg, an imprint of NB Publishers, are proud to announce the winners of the 2019 Sanlam Prizes for Youth Literature. The prizes, which serve to encourage original and creative writing for teenage readers and young adults (ages 12-18), were announced in Johannesburg on October 31. The prizes are for new manuscripts and are awarded biennially.

Two winners (gold and silver) are chosen in each of three categories – English, African languages (Tshivenda, Xitsonga, Nguni and Sotho languages) and Afrikaans. The prize money totals R90,000.

Sydney Mbhele, Chief Executive of Brand at Sanlam, says that living your best life possible, requires a commitment to make the most of what you have.

“Sanlam’s 39 year-sponsorship of this acclaimed award is evident of our commitment to our youth, giving them access to the highest level of youth literature available in their home language. Similar to the skill applied by Sanlam in creating wealth, we recognise and congratulate our six writers for the craftmanship they apply as wordsmiths, turning 26 letters into something of much greater value – a literary masterpiece that takes our youth on a journey to experience emotions and places they might never visit in real life.”

He congratulated the authors on their positive contribution towards the development of the leaders of tomorrow.

Illustrating the depth of South African youth literature, this year’s winning titles cover genres ranging from realistic fiction and fantasy (science-fiction and horror) to fables.

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

“We’re excited about the diversity in themes and genres of this year’s winning submissions,” says Michelle Cooper, Tafelberg publisher. “These novels cover enough familiar ground to engage South African teen readers but also offer much that is new and different to expand their minds and shift boundaries. These are novels with integrity, by authors who respect children and their experiences.”

Since the Sanlam awards were first bestowed in 1980, close to 80 entries have been prescribed for schools, emphasising the value of the competition, says Cooper. Among the long list of prescribed prize-winning titles have been Praise Song by Jenny Robson, Kungasa Ngifile by E.D.M. Sibaya, Leba Seipone by Kabelo Duncan Kgatea, SuperZero by Darrel Bristow-Bovey and Lien se lankstaanskoene by Derick van der Walt. Some titles have also been made into films, including Lien se lankstaanskoene and Die ongelooflike avonture van Hanna Hoekom by Marita van der Vyver.

Call to entry
Entries for the 2021 Sanlam Prizes for Youth Literature are now open. Entry forms are available at and the closing date is June 1 2010.

Article provided by NB Publishers

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