Rešoketšwe Manenzhe wins the 2020 Dinaane Debut Fiction Award for her novel Scatterlings

The Jacana Literary Foundation, in partnership with Exclusive Books, has announced the winner of the 2020 Dinaane Debut Fiction Award.

The winner of this year’s Dinaane Award is Rešoketšwe Manenzhe. She receives a R35,000 cash prize, and her manuscript Scatterlings will be published by Jacana Media.

The striking cover was revealed at the award ceremony, and the published book will be available in September 2020.

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 that would likely otherwise not have been selected – for purely commercial reasons – by local publishers of literature.

‘Scatterlings is a brilliant piece of writing, telling a story seldom told in South Africa. It is a compelling, original novel, ambitious in its form, with a pioneering depth of research.’ – Jennifer Malec, judge

The Kraak Writing Grant went to Julia Landau, author of Sleeping Naked. 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.

The three shortlisted authors, Rešoketšwe Manenzhe (winner), Nozuko Siyotula and Julia Landau

Nozuko Siyotula, for her novel Christopher, narrowly missed being awarded for her exceptionally well-written and creative manuscript. We have no doubt that her work will be picked up for publication, so keep an eye out!


‘The novels shortlisted this year stood out from the rest because of their nuanced portrayals of the development of personhood in a world fixated by difference and disaster. The shortlisted manuscripts have all skilfully shaded in the greys between the black and white of existence and difference. There are few villains and heroes in these stories – characters make the best of the hugely difficult challenges created by the writers and often do not live up to the moral expectations of readers.’ – Rehana Rossouw, head judge

The aim of these awards is to ensure that great southern African fiction continues to be published, by making possible new literature that may otherwise not have come about – not because of its merits, but because of the market forces that constrain us all in the book world. If you entered your manuscript, showed an interest or if you buy these books, you are keeping local fiction alive – the JLF thanks you!

About Scatterlings 

The novel is set over a hundred years ago, and chronicles a tale of migrancy very different to what we have come to expect in African literature. It incorporates myth and ritual, and the stories of extraordinary, ordinary women. What Scatterlings illustrates is that it is possible to write what you know without limiting yourself to your own actual, physical, lived experience.

About the author

Rešoketšwe Manenzhe is a PhD student and lecturer at the University of Cape Town. She is also an engineer who primarily works in the mining sphere. Manenzhe is no stranger to writing. In 2019, she won the Writivism Short Story Prize, and has also had a few of her short stories and poems published in journals such as the Kalahari Review and the Sol Plaatje European Union Anthology.

About the prize

For the past 15 years, first as the European Union Literary Award and now as The Dinaane Debut Fiction Award, this prize has unearthed great new literary talent within southern African countries. 2019’s winner was The Mourning Bird by Zambian author Mubanga Kalimamukwento.

Are you an unpublished writer of fiction? Don’t let the chance to be the next winner of the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award pass you by. Entries for the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award 2021 will be opening in May 2020. Follow us on social media for the latest updates and visit our website for more information on how to enter.

Categories Africa Fiction South Africa

Tags Awards Christopher Thurman Dinaane Debut Fiction Award Jacana Literary Foundation Jacana Media Jennifer Malec Julia Landau News Nozuko Siyotula Rehana Rossouw Rešoketšwe Manenzhe Scatterlings

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