Jacques Pauw, Eben Venter, Ken Barris and Marlene van Niekerk among the winners at 2018 Media24 Books Prizes

The winners of the 2018 Media24 Books Prizes were announced in Cape Town on Thursday, 14 June 2018.

Novelist Eben Venter won the WA Hofmeyr prize for Afrikaans fiction for the fifth time with Groen soos die hemel daarbo, while investigative journalist Jacques Pauw won the Recht Malan Prize for Non-fiction for his groundbreaking book The President’s Keepers.

Cape Town writer and poet Ken Barris was awarded the Herman Charles Bosman Prize, while internationally renowned poet and novelist Marlene van Niekerk won the Elisabeth Eybers Prize for Poetry.

The Media24 Books Prizes recognise the best work published during the previous year by Media24 book publishers including NB Publishers (through imprints such as Human & Rousseau, Tafelberg, Kwela and Queillerie) and Jonathan Ball Publishers.

This year, prizes to the value of R200,000 were awarded in the six categories.

2018 Media24 Books Literary Awards winners

Herman Charles Bosman Prize for English Fiction (novels, short stories, drama)

  • The Life of Worm and Other Misconceptions by Ken Barris (Kwela)

The judges called The Life of Worm and Other Misconceptions an extraordinary collection that combines the mundane with the surreal in illuminating but often deeply unsettling ways. It is a collection that keeps the reader ‘constantly intrigued, amused, repelled and acutely aware of South African realities’.

Also on the fiction shortlist were I am Pandarus by Michiel Heyns and Being Kari by Qarnita Loxton.


Recht Malan Prize for Non-fiction

  • The President’s Keepers by Jacques Pauw (Tafelberg)

According to the judges, The President’s Keepers will be remembered, along with #GuptaLeaks, for the change it brought about in South African society and the ANC. ‘The power of The President’s Keepers lies partly in the explosive revelations it makes, but mostly in that for the first time a broad-based narrative connected the dots between the private and public interests propping up Zuma at all costs. South Africans live in a better country today than a mere eight months ago, partly thanks to Pauw.’

The other titles on the non-fiction shortlist were How to Steal a City by Crispian Olver and Khwezi: The Story of Fezekile Kuzwayo by Redi Tlhabi.


WA Hofmeyr Prize for Afrikaans Fiction (novels, short stories, drama)

  • Groen soos die hemel daarbo by Eben Venter (Tafelberg)

The novel, which explores modern sexuality, intimacy and identity, was lauded by the judges for its finely honed style of writing.

The other books on the shortlist were Die wêreld van Charlie Oeng by Etienne Van Heerden and As in die mond by Nicole Jaekel Strauss.


Elisabeth Eybers Prize for Poetry

  • In die stille agterkamer by Marlene van Niekerk (Human & Rousseau)

The collection was described by the judges as ‘a gripping yet meditative reading experience’.

Also shortlisted were Nou, hier by Corné Coetzee, Radbraak by Jolyn Phillips and Alles het niet kom wôd by Nathan Trantraal.


MER Prize for Youth Novels

  • Blou is nie ’n kleur nie by Carin Krahtz (Tafelberg)


MER Prize for Illustrated Children’s Books

  • The All Africa Wildlife Express by Rosamund Haden and Tony Pinchuck (illustrator)


The judges were: For the Recht Malan prize: Jean Meiring, Elsa van Huyssteen and Pauli Van Wyk; for the Herman Charles Bosman prize: Johan Jacobs, Molly Brown and Ann Donald; for the WA Hofmeyr prize: Francois Smith, Sonja Loots and Kerneels Breytenbach; for the Elisabeth Eybers prize: Henning Pieterse, Bibi Slippers and Charl-Pierre Naudé; for the MER prize for youth novels: Nanette van Rooyen, Henriëtte Linde-Loubser and Betsie van der Westhuizen; and for the MER prize for illustrated children’s books: Piet Grobler, Marjorie Van Heerden and Magdel Vorster.

Categories Fiction Non-fiction South Africa South African Current Affairs

Tags Blou is nie ’n kleur nie Carin Krahtz Eben Venter Groen soos die hemel daarbo Human and Rousseau In die stille agterkamer Jacques Pauw Ken Barris Kwela Books Marlene van Niekerk Rosamund Haden Tafelberg The All Africa Wildlife Express The Life of Worm and Other Misconceptions The President's Keepers Tony Pinchuck

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