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This is the LitNet archive (2006–2012)
Visit the active LitNet platform at www.litnet.co.za

Boeke | Books > Kennisgewings | Notices > English

Royal Blue: M-Net Literary Awards 2011

Imke van Heerden - 2011-06-20

The winners of the 2011 M-Net Literary Awards were announced at a glamorous event at the Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town on Saturday, 18 June 2011. In the 20th commemorative year of this prestigious South African book prize, veteran authors swept the boards in the main language categories, while a first-time novelist scooped top honours with a charming story in the competition's fledgling film category.
The M-Net Literary Awards invites entries in all eleven official South African languages. This year, awards were presented in four different language categories: Afrikaans, English, Nguni and Sotho. The M-Net Literary Award in the film category is reserved for the novel, among all the entries in all the categories, that shows the most potential to be adapted into a commercially-viable feature film.
Ton Vosloo (Non-Executive Chair: Naspers), Eloise Wessels (CEO: NB Publishers) and one of the judges, Kerneels Breytenbach
Shortlisted Afrikaans author Dan Sleigh and his wife, Dewetia (Andries Wessels from the University of Pretoria looks on)
Author Cynthia Jele (far left), Michelle Esau from M-Net Corporate Communcations (far right) and friends
Modjaji's Colleen Higgs, Colleen Crawford Cousins, shortlisted author Lauren Beukes and Sam Wilson
Shortlisted Afrikaans author Deborah Steinmair and Michele Nigrini
Gerhard Mulder from NB Publishers and Kwela’s Ester Levinrad
Minky Schlesinger and author Ivan Vladislavic LitNet’s Imke van Heerden and Gerhard Mulder
M-Net CEO Patricia van Rooyen
Jenny Crwys-Williams
Afrikaans author Ingrid Winterbach completed a hat trick with her innovate latest novel Die Benederyk. She nabbed her first M-Net Literary Award, written under the pseudonym Lettie Viljoen, in 1994 for Karolina Ferreira and continued her winning streak with Die boek van toeval en toeverlaat in 2007. In the English category, one of the country’s most prominent writers, Ivan Vladislavič, received the award for Double Negative.
This multi-faceted novel, which was written as a counter-piece to a book of photographs depicting Johannesburg by renowned photographer David Goldblatt, was singled out by the judges as “a stylistic delight with which little can compare”.
Both the Sotho and Nguni category winners have been familiar faces at literary awards ceremonies over the past decade. It was a first win at the M-Net Literary Awards for KJ Sekele, however, who has been on previous shortlists. His arresting novel about adoption and family roles in African families, Lehutšho, was also a strong contender in the film category.
In the Nguni category, popular Xhosa novelist Ncedile Saule added another M-Net Literary Award to his collection with Inkululeko Isentambeni. This reverting political narrative impressed with the way it explored human tragedy with inventive stylistic structures.
The much-contested film category was won by debutant Cynthia Jele, who told the audience in her acceptance speech how Happiness is a Four Letter Word had been written in response to Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club. She decided to read every single novel recommended by the famous talk show host, but was so dampened by the ‘heaviness’ of so many of the stories, that she decided to write the book she, and many young women like her, would want to read.
Jele’s novel tells the story of sistas and fashionistas without shame who frequent the malls in the Northern suburbs of Johannesburg.
According to the judges, Happiness is a Four Letter Word is a novel with an abundance of riches and dialogue that will set the screen alight.
Patricia van Rooyen, Cynthia Jele and M-Net Communications Director Koo Govender
Miss South Africa 2010, Bokang Montjane, and kykNET's Tammy-Anne Fortuin
Shuffle, shuffle, get ready ...
... POSE!
Ivan Vladislavič, Ncedile Saule, Koo Govender, KJ Sekele, Ingrid Winterbach and Cynthia Jele
Each winner received R50 000 as opposed to the R30 000 from previous years.
The winners of the English and Afrikaans categories,
Ivan Vladislavic and Ingrid Winterbach

All the winning novels are available on sale at Kalahari.net and at the gala event M-Net confirmed its commitment to the South African book by announcing that it would support sales of the winning books with an extensive marketing campaign on the M-Net television channels.

The broadcaster also plans to extend the M-Net Naledi initiave which encourages a culture of reading from a young age by facilitating fun-filled reading programmes at rural and less privileged schools.

Comment on our Facebook album of the event.

Photos: Imke
van Heerden