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M-NET BOOK PRIZE (article first published : 2003-01-22)

The 2002/3 M-Net Book Prize competition regulations have been modified to include African language novels published between November 1 1998 and November 30 2002 that are entering the competition for the first time. The decision was reached after in-depth consultation with Pan South Africa Language Board CEO, Professor Cynthia Marivate who has been judging the competition for more than five years and is the main advisor on the panel.

According to Professor Cynthia Marivate, published works of indigenous languages have been declining for the past few years due to lack of funds and many authors have manuscripts awaiting to be published. “The M-Net Book Prize is a good example of private companies supporting community development and nation building, it’s a major contribution to the development of indigenous languages,” she says. “With so many manuscripts collecting dust in publishers’ shelves due to lack of funding, there is very little motivation for authors. Prestigious awards like The M-Net Book Prize give hope and strength to writers of indigenous languages.”

For the purposes of the M-NET Book Prize, the Nguni Prize will be awarded to a novel written in Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele or Swazi. The Sotho Prize will go to a novel in South Sotho, North Sotho or Tswana. A new development is the awarding of two different prizes to Tsonga and Venda language novels. These have formerly been grouped into one category.

This brings the total number of prizes to five, which will be awarded to and distributed among the following categories: Nguni, Sotho, Venda, Tsonga and finally the Afrikaans language prize which is now entitled “Die kykNET Jong Skrywersprys” (KykNET Young Authors Literary Award).

All entries are judged in each category by an esteemed panel of key players in the literary field. Judging criteria ranges from literary merit, strong narrative content to accessibility to a broad reading public and relevance to actualities.

All entries must be in by February 20 2003 and the winners of the 2002/2003 M-NET Book Prize will be announced in a joint function with Nasboek Literary Awards in June.

The 2002/3 M-Net Book Prize entry forms, rules and regulations can be downloaded from the M-Net website at www.mnet.co.za. Alternatively contact Verdrickza Rudolph on 011 686 6052, Fax: 011 686 6643 or e-mail vrudolph@mnet.co.za




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