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You are Invited to the South African Book Awards – 2023 to be hosted online on Tuesday, 3 October @ 12pm (South African Time). These annual Book Awards recognize books that are popular with Booksellers and the public, and celebrate the creativity and skills of Authors, Publishers, and their support teams, who came together in the past year to entertain, educate, and inform us. South Africa has a rich literary history, including 2 Nobel prizes for Literature. We encourage everyone  to read more, support our Authors and Publishers, and buy these and and books from their local Bookstores. After a process of selection and voting the following have been shortlisted in the 4 categories below: Fiction > Doolhof by Rudie […]

Lets celebrate our Freedom reading about those heroes who sacrificed for it.Visit your Local Bookstore on Online Bookstore for their Biographies.

Celebrating its 20th Anniversary, the winners of this year’s SA Book Awards were announced on 1 October as part of a special virtual Ceremony hosted by SABA, sponsored by Nielsen Book and supported by PASA. Over the last 20 years the awards have recognised books written and published in South Africa, as voted for by South African booksellers, and recent winners have included Sam Beckbessinger, Jacques Pauw and Sally Andrew.

This year a record number of booksellers voted for their favourite titles, in three categories, from a shortlist of bestselling titles published in South Africa and written by South African authors, as measured by Nielsen BookScan South Africa in 2019.

Shortlist for SA Book Awards 2020 – Adult Fiction Title: Death on the Limpopo by Sally Andrew  Sex, lies & Stellenbosch by Eva Mazza Zulus of New York by Zakes Mda Bare by Jackie Phamotse The Adult Fiction prize was won by Jackie Phamotse, a self-published author, for her book Bare: The Cradle of the Hockey Club. Jackie described winning the award as an honour, thanking everyone who has supported her over the years.

Shortlist for SA Book Awards 2020 – Adult Non-Fiction Title:Dit proe soos huis by Herman LensingGangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule’s web of capture by Pieter-Louis MyburghBetting on a Darkie by Mteto NyatiStellenbosch Mafia by Pieter Du Toit The Adult Non-Fiction prize was won by Pieter du Toit for Stellenbosch Mafia. Pieter thanked the booksellers and book dealers for all their hard work ensuring that books are available to the South African public, also praising them for continuing to encourage reading and the pursuit of writing.

Shortlist for SA Book Awards 2020 – Children’s Title (Fiction and Non-Fiction): Die Groot Jaco Jacobs Storieboek by Jaco Jacobs Zackie Mostert by Jaco Jacobs Yes Yanga! by Refiloe Moahloli Born a Crime by Trevor Noah The Children’s prize was won by previous winner Trevor Noah for the child adaptation of Born a Crime. On accepting his award Trevor said: “Writing a book was a very scary experience but turning the book into a book specifically for kids was even more scary because children have a very short attention span if your book is boring!” He went on to thank all the kids who read the book, the parents who read the book with their children and the teachers who […]

The 2020 SABA Annual Conference was held on 1 October 2020. The Sector heads presented their reports at this virtual conference. Highlights from these reports are included here and give an insight as to how SABA Exco is continually tackling issues important to SABA members and the bookselling industry in general.

Please join the 2020 SABA virtual conference and AGM – follow the link to the programme here and the link to register here.

Download the latest Bookmark Newsletter here

When this year’s edition of Kwazulu-Natal’s most popular literary festival (originally scheduled to run 16 – 21 March) had to be cancelled due to coronavirus fears, the organisers had to think outside the box. Participants had already been paid, and readers were looking forward to interacting with their heroes. According to Marlyn Ntsele, the conversion from a physical festival to one hosted across social media platforms, turned on a dime: ‘We did not give ourselves much time, because we did not want to lose the momentum. Luckily the festival was already active on most social media channels. We needed a day to brainstorm and make choices between all the options and applications we could use.’ The program consisted of a […]

South African collaborators Hear My Voice, Imphepho Pressand Bridges Pan Afrikan Arts Movement watched in dismay as the Covid-19 outbreak disrupted events planned worldwide for World Poetry Day on 21 March, and decided to do something about it. Together they collected funding for a Zoom event, roped in 16 of the best poets around the globe and managed to livestream a 3-hour gathering of souls to 4 900 eager attendees on Facebook. Since then, the video has been viewed 8 500 times. The stellar line-up featured local poets Busi Mahlangu, Sarah Godsell, Mandi Vundla, Mak Manaka, Lebo Mashile and Toni Giselle Stuart, while the international guest list consisted of Aja Monet (USA), Claire Trevien (France/UK), Tolu Abgelusi (Nigeria/UK), Elisangela Rita (Angola), Q Malewezi (Malawi), Holly […]

The much-anticipated fourth instalment of the Abantu Book Festival kicked off in a cold and wet Soweto with a poetry performance by Jamaican-Canadian poet D’bi Young and a keynote address by Mona Eltahawy. The festival ran from 5 December to 8 December, with 45 sessions and more than 50 participating authors. International authors on the programme include Chris Abani, Leye Adenle, Mona Eltahawy, D’bi Young, Remy Ngamije and Wana Udobang.    Abantu Festival attendees Lorraine Sithole, Samuel Maphalane, Fred Khumalo en Busisiwe Mahlape pictured above.Visit the Abantu website.Nigerian publisher Bibi Bakare-Yusuf expressed her admiration for the festival on Twitter:

The winners of the University of Johannesburg’s Prize for South African Writing in English were announced in November. The UJ Prize, now in its 13th year, is judged by four faculty members from the university’s Department of English, along with two academics from other universities and one member of the media industry. There are two prizes: the Main Prize, which this year came to R70 000, and the Debut Prize, which totalled R35 000. The winners in 2019 were Gabeba Baderoon for her exquisite poetry collection The History of Intimacyand Mphuthumi Ntabeni for his magical novel The Broken River Tent. Read more here.

The 14th instalment of the South African Literary Awards took place on 7November at the Ditsong National Museum of Cultural History in Tshwane. The ceremony formed part of the 8th Africa Century International African Writers Conference, hosted by the wRite associates. There were 18 winners over 12 categories, including prizes for translation and journalism. All the winners can be viewed here: www.sala.org.za

This year’s edition of the South African Book Fair took place in the Women’s Jail at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg from 6 – 8 September, and was a great success. With more than 100 authors, more than 50 sessions and a dedicated schools programme, the fair attracted a record number of visitors, including more than 400 learners from outlying Gauteng schools. Programme Manager, Olinka Nell, cites the abundance of good content as well as the move to a new venue as the main drivers for the reinvigorated event: ‘A whole new generation of writers are coming the fore. The authentic content readers have been yearning for for years is finally being published.’ Read about the South African Book Fair in […]

The 9th installment of the Open Book Festival in Cape Town once again delighted readers with a world-class programme of more than 200 authors (18 international) which included global stars such as Sarah Ladipo Manyika and Booker-shortlisted Chigozie Obioma. The festival took place in the Fugard Theater, District 6 Homecoming Centre and The Book Lounge from  4– 8 September. Attendance was good despite the CBD marches against gender violence. Open Book commented: ‘Current events made many of the topics discussed even more relevant. For many the festival became a safe and supportive space where the events could be processed.’

This year’s Sunday Times Literary Awards ceremony saw a change of venue to the rooftop bar of the Tiso Blackstar offices in the Hill on Empire building. The guest list included many of the authors, publishers and booksellers participating in the South African Book Fair across the street at Constitution Hill, lending the 30th edition of the awards a more intimate and inclusive feel. The prestigious Alan Paton Award went to Terry Kurgan’s Everyone is Present: Essays on Photography, Family and Memory (Fourthwall Books), and the Barry Ronge Fiction Prize to Siphiwe Ndlovu for her novel Theory of Flight (Penguin Books). Both writers received a substantial R100 000 prize. See all the winners here.

Photo: Elmarie Stodart (left) of Jonathan Ball Publishers receives the SA Book Award on behalf of Sam Beckbessinger South African booksellers voted for Sam Beckbessinger’s Manage Your Money Like a F*cking Grownup as their favourite book to sell in 2019. Their favourite Trade Publisher was Penguin Random House, and favourite Academic and Educational Publisher Oxford University Press. Berlut took the honours as Best Small Educational Publisher. Publishers in turn honoured Bargain Books as Best General Bookseller of the year, with Love Books acknowledged as best Independent Bookseller. Protea books walked away with the Best Academic Bookshop accolade, and Books 24/7 with the prize for Best Educational Bookseller. The Best Library Supplier in 2019 was Hargraves. Publishers also paid posthumous tribute […]

Photo: Leonie van Rensburg (left) of Graffiti Books with Sonél Brits (MD ATKV) and Hettie Scholtz (former publisher for Queillerie Publishers) Owner of Graffiti Books, Leonie van Rensburg, was awarded a Woordveertjie for her outstanding contribution to the South African book trade, especially for her role in promoting and selling Afrikaans books. Leonie started her career at Universitas, after which she joined Exclusive Books, opening the legendary Sunnypark branch in Pretoria before moving to the Hyde Park branch as manager. She was one of the co-founders of Facts & Fiction, and later opened The Bookshop in Tygervalley in Cape Town. Leonie served as CEO of Fascination Books in its heyday. Graffiti Books today is known for its unrivalled collection of […]

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