Fiona Snyckers, Nthikeng Mohlele and Trevor Noah shortlisted for the 2020 South African Literary Awards

Celebrating 15 years of growth and exhilarating success, the South African Literary Awards (SALA), announces the 2020 shortlist of nominees - the list includes Fiona Snyckers' Lacuna, Nthikeng Mohlele's Illumination and Trevor Noah's Born a Crime.

The prestigious South African Literary Awards were founded in 2005 by the wRite associates, in partnership with the national Department of Arts and Culture, as a platform to honour authors, translators, poets and other literary practitioners who made and continue to make a contribution in the South African literary landscape.

SALA honours writing and writers in all official languages across fourteen categories. They are K.Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award, which is a celebration of one of the country’s most prolific authors of his generation, K. Sello Duiker. First-Time published writers are also acknowledged and honoured by the Awards. The other is the Nadine Gordimer Short Story Literary Award, honouring thespians in the genre, across all languages. In addition, there are: National Poet Laureate Prize, Poetry Award, Literary Translators Award, Lifetime Achievement Literary Award, Posthumous Literary Award, Literary Journalism Award, Creative Non-Fiction Award and, Chairperson’s Award, Children’s Literature Award, Youth Literature Award and Novel Award. 

More than a two hundred luminaries have been honoured over the last fourteen years. This year's list of nominees includes Fiona SnyckersLacuna and Nthikeng Mohlele's Illumination, both shortlisted for the Novel Award and Trevor Noah's Born a Crime (younger readers edition) for the Youth Literature Award. The winners will be announced at a celebratory awards ceremony to be held virtually on 7th November 2020, the International African Writers’ Day. Read more about the 2020 SALA's HERE.
Photo credit: South African Literary Awards 


by Fiona Snyckers

Book cover for Lacuna

Lucy Lurie is deeply sunk in PTSD following a gang rape at her father’s farmhouse in the Western Cape. She becomes obsessed with the author John Coetzee, who has made a name for himself by writing Disgrace, a celebrated novel that revolves around the attack on her. Lucy lives the life of a celibate hermit, making periodic forays into the outside world in her attempts to find and confront Coetzee.
The Lucy of Coetzee’s fictional imaginings is a passive, peaceful creature, almost entirely lacking in agency. She is the lacuna in Coetzee’s novel – the missing piece of the puzzle.

Lucy Lurie is no one’s lacuna. Her attempts to claw back her life, her voice and her agency may be messy and misguided, but she won’t be silenced. Her rape is not a metaphor. This is her story.


by Nthikeng Mohlele

Book cover for Illumination
Bantubonke is an accomplished and revered jazz trumpeter, composer and band leader in decline – an absent present and inadequate spouse. He lives for art at the expense of all else, an imbalance that derails his life and propels him to the brink of madness and despair. A story of direct and implied betrayals, Illumination is an unrelenting study of possession and loss, of the beauty and uncertainty of love, of the dangers and intrusions of fame.

Born a Crime

by Trevor Noah

Book cover for Born a Crime

Adapted for younger readers from Born a Crime: And Other Stories – the #1 South African and New York Times bestseller

‘If my mother had one goal, it was to free my mind. My mother spoke to me like an adult. She was always telling me stories, giving me lessons, Bible lessons especially. She was big into Psalms. I had to read Psalms every day. She would quiz me on it. “What does the passage mean? What does it mean to you? How do you apply it to your life?” That was every day of my life. My mom did what school didn’t. She taught me how to think.’