The Jacana Literary Foundation (JLF) is a not-for-profit organisation which seeks to promote and foster excellent writing from South and southern Africa through a number of initiatives.
Through generous project funding, the JLF is able to publish literature that otherwise would not be published due to its commercial viability. This allows the JLF’s project partner, Jacana Media, the opportunity to continue to publish what we like, and support the concept of bibliodiversity. We realise that it is through the reading and writing of local creative works that the truths of our lives are best told.
The JLF aims to disperse such works to the world, and will donate books to various organisations (focusing on libraries, schools, prisons, the South African Police Service, hospitals and clinics), in order to expand the reach of regional literature.
The projects currently administered by the JLF are:
The Dinaane Debut Fiction Award
In recent times, locally published fiction has been particularly hit hard by difficult market conditions. We cannot allow it to disappear as a result. Accordingly, this first award of its kind aims to promote new southern African literature that speaks to both a local and international audience.
The word dinaane in Setswana means ‘telling our stories to one another’, which connotes the many strands of conversation which weave into the common language of fiction.
Formerly known as the European Union Literary Award, this award was established in 2004, and has proved to be a driving force in uncovering new and talented South African fiction writers.
The Dinaane Award is, like its predecessor, open to unpublished English-language manuscripts by debut writers.The winning manuscript is published by Jacana Media and the winner awarded a cash prize. The award-winning book is supported by Exclusive Books’ Homebru campaign.
The Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award
In an attempt to keep visible the voices of South African poets in the country’s landscape of published works, the Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award was established in 2011. It is supported by the European Union.
The annual award, named after Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje (1876–1932), recognises the life and vision of this highly respected political and social activist. A longlist of the strongest entries into this award are anthologised each year. Poets may enter up to three poems for consideration, in any of the official South African languages.
As Plaatje’s works did in his time, these poems reveal the political and social attitudes of our time.
The Gerald Kraak Award and Anthology
The new annual Gerald Kraak Award and Anthology is made possible in partnership with The Other Foundation and through the generous funding of Atlantic Philanthropies, a limited life foundation. Created in honour of the late Gerald Kraak’s extraordinary legacy of supporting human rights, this award will advance his contribution to building a South Africa that is safe and welcoming to all. The unique and vital compendium will feature English-language writing and photography from and about Africa. Exceptional works which explore, interrogate and celebrate the topics of gender, sexuality and human rights will be given a voice through publication.