Mubanga Kalimamukwento wins Dinaane Debut Fiction Award for her novel The Mourning Bird

Zambian author Mubanga Kalimamukwento has been announced as the winner of the 2018 Dinaane Debut Fiction Award, for her novel The Mourning Bird.

Kalimamukwento has been awarded R35,000 prize money and publication by Jacana Media, while her winning novel will be supported by Exclusive Books through its Homebru campaign.

The book will be on shelves on 1 June 2019.

Head judge David Medalie says:

‘From the very first page one is struck by how self-assured the writing is, by the fact that the writer never feels the need to strain for effect or over-explicate the issues involved. The depiction is both unflinching and subtle.’

The Kraak Writing Grant went to Vivian de Klerk, author of Not to Mention. The grant is valued at R25,000 and is dedicated to the memory of Gerald Kraak. It offers the recipient mentoring and intensive coaching from Alison Lowry, editor, publishing expert and writer, enabling the author to refine and develop their work still further.

Lowry says:

‘I have had a dip into [Not to Mention] and I think there might be something rather wonderful there. I shall look forward to working with the author in due course.’

Third runner-up is Sophia Tao, for her novel Legacy of a Rain Queen: The Eagle’s Martial. Jacana called the manuscript ‘exceptionally well-written and creative’, adding: ‘We have no doubt that her work will be picked up for publication, so keep an eye out!’

Medalie says: ‘The Dinaane Award was formerly known as the EU Literary Award. In 2018 it was revived under a new name and it seemed to me, from the number of entries and level of interest, that it gained a new energy. It drew more than 70 entries. A significant development is that the award was opened for the first time to writers from the SADC countries; consequently, the submissions included novels from, among others, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana.’

For the past 14 years, first as the European Union Literary Award and now as the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award, the prize has unearthed great new South African literary talent.

Dinaane 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.

Entries were judged blind by a panel comprising David Medalie (chair), Rehana Rossouw and Songeziwe Mahlangu.

See some tweets from the announcement:

Categories Fiction South Africa

Tags Awards David Medalie Dinaane Debut Fiction Award Exclusive Books Homebru Jacana Literary Foundation Jacana Media Legacy of a Rain Queen Mubanga Kalimamukwento News Rehana Rossouw Songeziwe Mahlangu Sophia Tao The Mourning Bird Vivian de Klerk

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