Writings of the general word's body

Sunday, February 28, 2010

SA PEN Studzinski Award

I've just seen Guardian Prize winning author Petina Gappah's blog post notifying that the call for entries has gone out for the 2011 PEN Studzinski Award for short fiction. The award, originally for writers from the 15 SADC countries, was opened to all of Africa for the 2009 edition, eventually won by Karen Jayes.

As Gappah attests, the 2007 award started her on the road to something significant. Her second placed story, selected by J.M. Coetzee (At The Sound of the Last Post) opens her highly successful debut collection, An Elegy For Easterly, having been previously published in Prospect. The 2007 winning story by Henrietta Rose-Innes (Poison) went on to scoop the Caine Prize in 2008. So there is no denying the power of this award.

Oddly enough and in a major about-turn, the SA PEN Studzinski Award reverts to "appealing only to writers living in the fifteen countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC*)." No more All-Africa inclusivity then. Just one All-Africa trial convinced them to narrow it back down to SADC only, it appears.

As I wrote in the comment box for Gappah's blog, "I wish the Studzinski Award would make its bloody mind up."


Anonymous said...

It's just as well if you ask me. Last edition when they shortlisted over 30 writers from all over Africa (my anonymous self included), the three winners still came exclusively from SA anyway? Why open it to all of Africa when JM Coetzee is so narrow-minded about what constitutes good fiction?

Toriyo said...

'Perhaps a judge familiar with the “African literary trends and standards” may be more suitable to judge this contest.'


Anonymous said...

Rather than change the judge who only ever sees winning writing in White South Africans, the SA PEN changed the parameters. A smaller pond for the almighty white SA writer to swim in. Sigh.

College Term Papers said...

Very good post. I have been searching for this post since many days. Now I have implemented the same for my site.

Anonymous said...

Well, I have just seen this post, and I find it interesting as the 2011 short list has been announced, and here it is:

Press Release:
For immediate release
2011 PEN/Studzinski Literary Award Shortlist

It is that time of the year again, the £10 000,00 South African PEN/Studzinski Literary Award winners are to be announced shortly. This year’s entries and sifting process resulted in twenty one shortlisted stories. As in previous years these short stories will be published as an anthology titled African Pens 2011. Below, in alphabetical order by author surname, are the final 21 stories selected from 531 entries:

Jayne Bauling - Evolution
Kyne Nislev Bernstorff - Parking The Guilt
Wendy Clark - Lullaby for Angel
Graham Ellis - The Power of Plums
Rosemund J Handler - Quiver
Martin Hatchuel - Pinch
Martin Hatchuel - Situation Orange
Beth Hunt - Heatwave
Margaret Jacobsohn - The Bewitched Bookkeeper
Liesl Jobson - It Isn’t Pretty
Bobby Jordan - Claremont Park
Russell H Kaschula - Six Teaspoons of Sweetness
Rosamund Kendal - The Sunday Paper
Sarah Lotz - Pigeon Fancier
Fadhila Mazanderani - Snake Season
William Oosthuizen - The Ticket
Andrew Prior - Changing Perceptions
Michelle Sacks - Man Dies Alone
Andrew Salomon - Nkisi
James Whyle - The Story
Joline Young - July

The first (£5 000), second (£3 000) and third (£2 000) prize winners were selected from this list by the Nobel Laureate, JM Coetzee. They will be announced by Margie Orford, Executive Vice President of SA PEN, at the book launch which will be held at The Book Lounge, Cape Town, on 19th May 2011 at 18:00.

The PEN/Studzinski Literary Award, formerly the HSBC/SA PEN Literary Award, calls for short stories from writers of any age who are citizens of African SADC countries. The prize monies of £10 000,00 are sponsored by Mr John Studzinski, a global banker and philanthropist. The shortlisted entries from each year are published in an anthology; this year’s anthology is titled African Pens 2011. Past publications are African Compass - New writing from southern Africa 2005, African Road - New writing from southern Africa 2006, African Pens - New writing from southern Africa 2007 and New Writing from Africa 2009. Two of the stories featured in New Writing from Africa 2009, were shortlisted for the 2010 Caine Prize for African Writing.

Further to the SA PEN Literary Awards thirteen of the authors who were published in African Compass, African Road, African Pens and New Writing from Africa 2009 have since become published authors in their own right.

Each award has aimed to encourage new creative writing in Africa and to produce a book of quality short stories, written by citizens of African countries, at the culmination of each award. In turn SA PEN hopes that readers of these books will be encouraged to put pen to paper/fingers to keyboard and start writing their own stories. Writing encourages reading and reading encourages writing.

Write! Africa Write!