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The Dinaane Debut Fiction Award Call for submissions – extended entry period

If you are an aspirant wordsmith and want the chance to share your story, then this is the opportunity you have been waiting for. 

You stand a chance to win R35 000, get great coverage as a debut author and have your book published by Jacana Media, if your manuscript is selected as the winner of the Dinaane Award by the panel of judges.

click here to enter


New Releases

  • Frantz Fanon: Toward a Revolutionary Humanism
  • Banting Baker
  • More Life's a Beach Cottage
  • Piggy Boy's Blues
  • Sweet Medicine
  • Mozambique 1975/1985
  • Madam & Eve Shed Happens
  • Rhodes Rage
  • The Pavement Bookworm
  • Crashed
  • Still Grazing
  • Goodnight Zzzuma!
  • Lusaka Punk and other stories The Caine Prize for African writing 2015
  • Cape Fusion
  • Dagga: A Short History
  • When Loving Him Hurts
  • Garden Aloes
  • The Shouting in the Dark
  • The Refined Player: Sex, Lies and Dates
  • Rape: A South African Nightmare
  • The Black Sash
  • A City Refracted
  • Institutional Architecture & Development
  • The Congress of the People and Freedom Charter: A People’s History
  • Sacrifices
  • Dub Steps
  • In Love & Intimate
  • Cooking with Gas

Don’t let the chance to be the next winner of the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award pass you by.

Don’t let the chance to be the next winner of the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award pass you by.
The submissions period has been extended until 29 February 2016.
Submit your entry at www.jacana.co.za, and you could win a cool R35 000, have your manuscript published and be publicised as an award-winning debut fiction author!
Ishtiyaq Shukri, an avid writer and editor, received the inaugural European Union Literary Award (now the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award) in 2004 for his novel, The Silent Minaret. 

He had always wanted to be a writer. He felt like a writer, worked like a writer, but however much he wanted to be a writer, he couldn’t claim the title because his work had not been published. And then he won the award. 

It has been more than a decade since, but he remembers it all so clearly:

“Before winning the EU Literary Award, as it was known then, I was working and re-working my manuscript until I could recite whole tracts of it by heart, until it felt as though my fingers would fall off. It really was an act of faith, and I laboured over my manuscript just for the love of it. It took many years to write The Silent Minaret, and I had received so many rejection letters from publishers that I actually stopped sending out the manuscript. I remember reading Hanif Kureishi’s Dreaming and Scheming: Reflections on Writing and Politics. The book had become a kind of talisman. I took it everywhere I went, rereading my favourite parts again and again. There’s this bit where Kureishi writes movingly about his father’s writerly ambitions. I recognised so many of my own feelings in Kureishi’s description of his father, who wanted nothing more than to be a writer, but who never made it. I felt something close to despair at the thought of ending up like Kureishi’s father.

“The only ambition I ever had was to be a writer, but it was undeclared. I just carried the desire around with me, like a deep secret. The longer I lived with my secret ambition, the more I realised – and this was a very clear realisation – that I would be very unfulfilled if I died without realising my ambition. Given the weight of those feelings, and the depth to which I felt them, I could never fully express what winning the EU Literary Award has meant to me. It was more than I had ever imagined, even in my most secret of imaginings.”

For Ishtiyaq, becoming a successful author boils down to putting in the hours and showing up at your desk to do what it takes.

“Be patient. Have faith. You’ll find the right publisher for your story. That’s important. Your publisher must love your story. And while you’re searching for the right one, don’t just sit there staring at your inbox waiting for them to reply. Use the time to rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Show your work to an avid reader, someone whose opinion you respect. Ask them what they think, and listen to their opinions. I mean truly listen, not only for the praise, but also for the critique.Spend time with your characters. Get to know them, their likes, how they speak, what they wear. For instance, Issa in TSM is a total germophobe. He goes around London avoiding all contact with foreign surfaces. So rather than reach for the handrail, I’d get thrown around tubes and buses trying to get to into his head. And love your manuscript. Really love it. Use every spare moment to make it as perfect as you possibly can. It shows. And if you don’t like spending this amount of time being with your manuscript, it’s a sure sign that nobody else will.

“Prizes are lovely,” he says, “but they aren’t one’s primary motivation. Nobody writes just to win prizes. One writes because one has to. I write to release the voices in the head. I write because if I don’t, my head will explode and there’ll be voices all over the ceiling.”

Even so, the award has broadened the horizons of South African writing. It has changed what it is possible to imagine, what it is possible to write and what it is possible to read in South Africa, says Ishtiyaq. It has made space for individual writers with something unique to say.

So, if you have lovingly written into creation a unique book, share it! This award has been bestowed on very diverse novels by a variety of authors who have written about different topics all in their own unique style. 

So, what are you waiting for?

Access the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award rules and entry form here: http://www.jacana.co.za/awards/dinaane-debut-fiction-award-entry-form

Book of the month


To celebrate her 14-year clean and sober birthday, Ferguson organises to take a R3.2 million Ferrari California out on a test drive for the day. Twenty minutes before she returns the car, she is involved in a spectacular car crash, during which she experiences a near-death collision. 

The crash is a catalyst for a series of life-changing events. Over the following months her long-term relationship implodes in a heart-ripping showdown of betrayal and deception. She is faced with a litany of legal and financial nightmares as a result of the Ferrari being written off, while certain members of the dog-eat-dog motoring journo industry relish in her downfall. 

After she admits herself to a clinic to address her meltdown, in her trademark gritty tell-it-all and often hilarious style, she interrogates the controversial pharma-whore psychiatric industry as she is diagnosed and medicated over her three-week stay. 

Ultimately Crashed sees Ferguson slowly coming to grips with the meaninglessness of outward  material success as she embarks on a painful journey of introspection in search of intangible inner peace and self love in a crazy out of control world. It’s South Africa’s very own The Girl (Monk) Who Crashed (Sold) her (his) Ferrari.

Click here to find out more about Crashed or click here to read an preview of the book.

Author of the Week

David Atwell

David Attwell, who is Professor of English at the University of York, is one of the most sophisticated critics of J.M. Coetzee’s novels. His own writing about Coetzee has in fact become inseparable from Coetzee scholarship (he edited the seminal book of essays and interviews with Coetzee entitled Doubling the Point). In some respects, then, J.M. Coetzee & the Life of Writing brings us full circle: it is as much about Coetzee’s work, as about the evolution of this important critic’s own engagement with the meaning of the novels. This point is made clear in the preface: Attwell has, after rigorous study of the manuscripts, come to realise that Coetzee’s processes of writing are at least as fascinating as the finished product. What he offers is less a biography of Coetzee the man than an intimate study of the evolution of his writing.

Click here to learn more about J.M. Coetzee & the Life of Writing

Find out more about our authors. To locate author profiles and read more about their books and their lives, browse the list below. Authors are sorted alphabetically by their first names.