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The Dinaane Debut Fiction Award

The European Union Literary Award was established in 2004 with the ideal of promoting new South African literature that speaks not only to South Africans but also to an international audience. The award was generously supported by various member states of the European Union.

Now administered by the Jacana Literary Foundation, the award was later renamed the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award. While Jacana Media says this change of name happened in 2014, Wikipedia says it occurred in 2015.

The award is open to South African writers resident in South Africa who have never been published before. Books must be a first, unpublished work of fiction in English, or translations of other South African languages into English providing the work has not been published in other languages. The word “dinaane” means “telling our stories together” in Setswana, according to the Jacana Media website.

The award has grown from a R25,000 cash prize and publication by Jacana Media to R35,000 cash prize for the first prize winner, along with publication. The runner-up also receives an R20,000 writing bursary, in honor of Gerald Krak, who helped run Jacana Media until his death in 2014. The award was first given in 2004.

Past Winners

Winners of the European Union Literary Award include:

Year Recipient Author
2014 Dubsteps Andrew Miller
2013 The Story of Anna P. as Told by Herself Penny Busetto
2012/11 Khalil’s Journey Ashraf Kagee
2010 Deeper than Color James Clelland
2009 Saracen at the Gates Ziniad Meeran
2008 Till We Can Keep An Animal Megan Voysey-Braig
2007 Coconut Kopano Matlwa
2005 Bitches’ Brew Fred Khumalo
Ice in the Lungs Gerald Kraak
2004 Silent Minaret Ishtiyaq Shukri


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University Of Johannesburg Prize

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The University of Johannesburg Prize for South African Writing in English, also known as the UJ Prize, was instituted in 2006. It comprises two prizes, a main prize and a debut prize, given annually for “the best original creative work in English published in the previous calendar year”. The prizes are judged by a panel comprising four members of the Department of English at the University of Johannesburg, two academics from other universities and one member of the media or publishing industry.

The prizes are not linked to a specific genre. This may make the evaluation more challenging in the sense that, for example, a volume of poetry, a novel and a biographical work must be measured against one another, but the idea is to open the prize to as many forms of creative writing as possible.

Past Winners

Year Recipient Prize Category Prize Money
2014/2015 Rachel’s Blue by Zakes Mda Main R70,000
The Story Of Anna P. As Told By Herself by Penny Busetto Debut R30,000
2013/2014 The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes Main R70,000
False River by Dominique Botha Debut R30,000
2012/2013 Life Underwater by Ken Barris Main R70,000
Entanglement by Steven Boykey Debut R30,000
2011/2012 Landscape Painter by Craig Higginson Main R65,000
The Sea of Wise Insects by Terry Westby-Nunn Debut R25,000
2010/2011 Double Negative by Ivan Vladislavic Main R60,000
Not a Fairy Tale by Shaida Kazie Ali Debut R20,000
2010 High Low In-between by Imraan Coovadia Main R60,000
Native Nostalgia by Jacob Dlamini Debut R20,000
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  1. “Zakes Mda and Penny Busetto Win the 2014/2015 University of Johannesburg Prizes for South African Writing (English)”
  2. “Lauren Beukes and Dominique Botha Win the 2013/2014 University of Johannesburg Prizes”
  3. “Ken Barris and Steven Boykey Sidley win the 2012/2013 University of Johannesburg Prizes”
  4. “Craig Higginson and Terry Westby-Nunn Win the 2011/2012 University of Johannesburg Prizes”
  5. “Ivan Vladislavic and Shaida Kazie Ali Win the 2010/2011 University of Johannesburg Prizes for Creative Writing”
  6. “Imraan Coovadia and Jacob Dlamini Win the 2010 University of Johannesburg Prizes”


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