Sanlam recognises local writer

Jayne Bauling.

Renowned local artist, Jayne Bauling, who made the shortlist for the highly sought-after Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature in April, won silver at a youthful affair in Johannesburg last week for her book, New Keepers.

“This is the third time I’ve had an entry shortlisted for this prize. The second time it happened, my novel Dreaming of Light won the gold prize and has since been DBE-approved for schools – grade 11 English first additional language – and was chosen to represent SA on the IBBY (International Board on Books for Youth) Honour List. The prize is a valuable launching pad for a novel. This time around, I have to admit to some surprise as New Keepers (around 53 000 words) is obviously book one of an intended series, possibly a trilogy, and this prize is a useful selling point to get a novel published and out there,” said Bauling.

According to the judges, New Keepers “has the feel of a Lauren Beukes novel crossed with Hunger Games”. The story is set in a post-apocalyptic future, it follows a boy who advertises a trip into the Wildlands for those seeking adventure.

A record number of 134 entries were received in the competition’s 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 prizes were handed over by Lebogang Monyatsi, head of group market development and stakeholder relations at Sanlam, and Eloise Wessels, managing director of Media24 Books – of which NB Publishers and Tafelberg form part.

“We are privileged and proud to be part of this enormously important initiative by Sanlam to develop new writing talent and create quality literature for young adult readers in all our official languages,” said Wessels.

“There can be few more worthwhile endeavours than enabling young people to read books reflecting their own realities in their own language. It also plays a key role in promoting literacy and a love for books, bringing lifelong rewards.”

Also read: An exquisite sculpture gallery set to open

Stefan de Villiers

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