The shortlist for the 2023 edition of the South African Literary Awards (SALA) is out. Out of the 219 submissions received, 30 titles made it to the shortlist.

Founded by the wRite associates in partnership with the national Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) in 2005, the aim of SALA is to pay tribute to South African writers who have distinguished themselves as groundbreaking producers and creators of literature. It also celebrates literary excellence in the depiction of South Africa’s histories, value systems, philosophies and art as inscribed and preserved in all the official languages of South Africa.

The panel of 34 judges spent months rigorously reading, scrutinizing, and scoring the 219 books they received through the November 2022 call for submissions.

Here is the 2023 shortlist with the individual categories:

Children’s Literature Award

  1. Sinathi Mpukwana – Unakho
  2. Irene Berman – Flap! Rattle! Stomp!
  3. Kabelo Kgatea – Tutu le Lulu
  4. Molebatsi Bosilong – Montsane le Motho
  5. Mr Philip de Vos – Tokkelossiebossie en ander dol gedoentes
  6. Claudette Browne Storrar – Nelly and Sam Thwala

First Time Published Award

  1. Ayanda Chris Mntwapi – Bohlulwe Kukusa
  2. Ntloro Charlotte Pebane – Lerato La Lepheko
  3. Shevlyn Mottai – Across the Kala Pani
  4. Zodwa Zondi – Alitjhingi Linganandaba

Youth Literature Award

  1. Annelie Ferreira – Dit het alles begin met ‘n hond
  2. Dianne Stewart – Time of the Swallows
  3. Kobate John Sekele – Makgoma A Dihlong
  4. Onke Mazibuko – The Second Verse
  5. Makwena Nkwana – Go tseba mang?
  6. Mihlali Blackie – Ukuzazi Ukuzithemba Nokuzamkela

Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award

  1. Dimakatso David Mokwena – Here Comes the Gay King

Poetry Award

  1. Vuyisile Msila – Yombela
  2. Kaka Mokakale – Tswina ya poko
  3. Anelisa Thengimfene – Amajingiqhiw’ entlalo
  4. Michèle Betty – Dark Horse
  5. Stephen Symons – Small Souls: New and Collected Poems

Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award

  1. Terry-Ann Adams – White Chalk

Creative Non-Fiction Literary Award

  1. Mandla J. Radebe – The Lost Prince of the ANC: The Life and Times of Jabulani Nobleman ‘Mzala’ Nxumalo
  2. Siphiwo Mahala – Can Themba: The Making and Breaking of the Intellectual Tsotsi, a Biography

Literary Translators Award

Novel Award

  1. Sipho Kekezwa – Intlungu yokuhlalwa lilahle emhlana
  2. Kobate John Sekele – Re Hwile La Pitsana
  3. Sue Nyathi – An Angel’s Demise
  4. Thivhusiwi Tshindane Tshivhula – Hone Hu Tshi Tea U Maliwa Nga vhugai
  5. Fred Khumalo – Two Tons O’ Fun

The SALA Awards ceremony will take place on November 7 at the Madiba Banquet Hall, Potchefstroom, North West Province. The award ceremony will be a finale of the 11th Africa Century International African Writers Conference (ACIAWC).

Congrats to the shortlisted writers!