Monday, December 2, 2013

2013 Bessie Head Literature Awards

This last Saturday I was off to Gaborone for the 2013 Bessie Head Literature Awards. It was held at the National Museum's Little Theatre. This year's winners were:

In the novel category:           
Winner: Veronica Jane McLean for The Hot Chain
1st  Runner Up:  Jack Wachira Mithamo for  Prosperity Diamonds
2nd Runner Up: One Pamela Pusumane for The Girl on the Other Side of the Mirror

  In the short story category:                   
Winner:  Moreetsi Pius Gabang  for “Lesilo mo Maun”
1st Runner Up:  Wada Goitsemang   for “Uncle B”
2nd Runner Up: Tumisang Baatshwana for “Melodi”

In the children’s story category:       
Winner:  Margaret Baffour-Awuah   for “Two Frogs Go A’ Wandering”

It was a nice, chilled event. The guest speaker was one of the past winners of the Award, Cheryl Ntumy.  Since the Award win in 2009, Cheryl has gone on to have books published in South Africa as well as overseas. Her Cozy Bennett series for young adults is published by an imprint of Harlequin. The first book, set in Gaborone, Entwined, is fantastic. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series. 

(In photo (left to right): Chair of BHHT, Peter Mwikisa, winner in the novel category, Veronica Jane McLean, Cheryl Ntumy, and MC Goodie Tlokwe) 

At the event on Saturday Cheryl spoke about how the Bessie Head Award gave her courage to be serious about her writing. So much about life tells writers that it is a waste of time and that they should get practical. But prizes are important because they give writers hope that there are people out there who think their writing is good enough and there are readers out there who can connect what you're writing. 

I absolutely agree with her. For me prizes have always been a huge motivator. A stop along the way to check in if you are on track and to get a bit of a push to go on. 

The Awards will not take place next year as the Bessie Head Heritage Trust is assessing them and want to come back the following year with a new and improved model.

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