2023 Dinaane Debut Fiction Award shortlist announced!

The Jacana Literary Foundation has announced the shortlist for the 2023 Dinaane Debut Fiction Award.

Dinaane is a South African prize that aims to promote new southern African fiction that speaks to both a local and international audience. It encourages new writers and new readers by publishing material which would likely otherwise not have been selected – for purely commercial reasons – by local publishers of literature.

The award is administered by The Jacana Literary Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation which seeks to promote and foster excellent writing from South and southern Africa.

More than 60 manuscripts were submitted and after careful deliberation, the judges arrived at this shortlist of three.

2023 Dinaane Debut Fiction Award shortlist

  • The Price of Blood in Pretoria by Emerson Vale
  • Buried in the Chest by Lindani Mbunyuza-Memani
  • Jacaranda Days by Zoe Ngombane

The winner will be announced in May 2024. The winning writer will receive a prize of R35 000 and a publishing contract with Jacana Media.

The panel, comprising Rehana Rossouw (head judge), Jennifer Malec and Robert Muponde, judged the submissions blind.

About the writers

Emerson Vale, a native South African, grappled with the distinction between art and science, freedom and unfreedom in his youth. Despite understanding these differences, fear led him to take a safe path, becoming a doctor who dabbled in writing. Dissatisfaction persisted, prompting a shift to psychiatry, where writing remained a side pursuit. In 2008, Emerson severed ties with medicine to embrace full-time writing. Though happiness remains elusive, he has traded considerable unfreedom for the pursuit of creative fulfilment.

Lindani Mbunyuza-Memani, an MFA graduate from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, holds a PhD in mass communication and media arts from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. She earned her MA in media studies from Nelson Mandela University in April 2011. Beyond writing and observing social and cultural phenomena for her stories, she is dedicated to teaching as an English professor, shaping young minds along the way.

Zoe Ngombane is an English graduate from the University of Pretoria. She is a teacher by day and a writer by night, and an avid reader the rest of the time. After spending five years abroad in Thailand and South Korea, collecting stories and experiences, and walking the paths of her future characters, she is back home and expressing them on paper. Her work has appeared in Brittle Paper, Heyhedone and in the Perdeby. She currently lives between the Wild Coast of South Africa with the ocean as her closest companion and at her sister’s house in Mpumalanga, like a true couch-surfing vagabond.

Categories Fiction South Africa

Tags Dinaane Debut Fiction Award Jacana Literary Foundation Jacana Media News

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