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EU LITERARY AWARD (article first published : 2004-07-10)

At the recent National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, the Embassies/High Commissions of the European Union in South Africa launched a new literary award to encourage new South African writing in the EU-countries, in partnership with Jacana publishers, This Day and Safm.

South African writers can submit a first, unpublished novel to Jacana Publishers who will publish the award-winning novel. The award will consist of R25,000 and a trip to a literary festival in Europe. The 2004 award winner will be invited to the Winternachten festival in the Netherlands.

"Through this award we wish to enhance writing and reading in South Africa", says Netherlands Ambassador Frans Engering, who currently holds the presidency of the EU. “Elinor Sisulu said recently when she accepted the Noma award that 'African countries need increased investment in the three "l's"- language, literature and libraries: No books, no African Renaissance.’ The EU wants to contribute to this process by creating this new award.

“Furthermore, we want to raise the profile of new South African writers in our countries. Hence the invitations to literary festivals for the award winners. The first award winner will go to the Netherlands, the next will go to festivals in France, Germany, the UK and other EU-countries."

Nadine Gordimer is the chair of the jury of this prestigious award. Other well-known members of the jury are professor Andries Oliphant (UNISA) and Professor Kole Omotoso (writer and lecturer). The media partners are Maggie Davey of Jacana Publishers, Alan Swerdlow of Safm and Alex Dodd, Features and Books Editor of ThisDay as well as Dutch book critic Fred de Vries.

The shortlist for the award will be announced in November. The published manuscript will be presented in March 2005, at the Time of the Writer festival in Durban.

Writers must submit their manuscripts before October 1, 2004, to Jacana Publishers clearly marked for the EU Literary Award, PO Box 2004, Houghton 2041. The award is for a first, unpublished work of fiction in English (or translations of other South African languages into English). The recommended length of the novel should be between 60,000 and 100,000 words. Only South African residents can participate and the competition is restricted to one entry per applicant. Manuscripts should be submitted in hard copy on A4, typed (1,5 space, 12 points, margins) and securely bound. Criteria for submission can also be downloaded from www.jacana.co.za

For more information contact Margriet Leemhuis on 012 344 3910, ext 202 or e-mail: margriet.leemhuis@minbuza.nl or visit www.jacana.co.za

This project is supported by The Royal Netherlands Embassy, The Goethe Institute, The French Embassy/IFAS, The British Council, Jacana Publishers, This Day and Safm.




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