Are you the next Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh, Don Pinnock or Maria Phalime? Do you have a true life story or body of research for a book that will contribute to the national debate or the recorded history of our country? Do you need that final incentive to sit down and write it? Well, take serious note: calls for submissions for the prestigious City Press Tafelberg Nonfiction Award are now open.
It’s the country’s biggest award for an unpublished manuscript and is only handed out every two years. It celebrates authentic South African stories that offer insight and provoke thought.
For this year’s prize, the winner can look forward to receiving R120 000 to take time out to write the book. They also receive a publishing deal with Tafelberg, which is an imprint of NB Publishers, as well as significant exposure in our newspaper and on our website.
Let us help fund your research and writing so that you can produce an original work of nonfiction that breaks ground on a particular subject within the South African context, irrespective of genre.
Previous winners of the award include journalist and criminologist Pinnock, who won for Gang Town, which is widely recognised by universities as a recommended coursework book in all criminology and most criminal law courses in the country.
In Gang Town, Pinnock explores why the levels of gangsterism are so high in Cape Town, and why many of those caught up in the criminal underbelly of the city are adolescents.
When City Press interviewed Pinnock in 2016, he said: “I set out to find solutions because, if you don’t have solutions, you don’t have policy, and vice versa. What I hope for the book is to offer the kind of solutions that can find their way into policy because any government has enough power and weight to change things. At least people will know what is to be done to solve the problem.”
Author and activist Mpofu-Walsh made a huge impact when he lifted the prize with Democracy & Delusion: 10 Myths in South African politics. Mpofu-Walsh cemented his place as a fresh and insightful political commentator of the next generation as he set out to dispel false constructs in our national political discourse. What’s unique about his book is that he manages to combine politics and hip-hop, as it accompanied an album of the same title. Each chapter in the book has a corresponding song on his album.
Sekoetlane Phamodi reviewed Mpofu-Walsh’s book for City Press: “Unlike his literary forebears and contemporaries, he goes beyond the established tradition of woke sociopolitical diagnosis of the sickness in our society, and challenges anyone with the will and constitution to suspend their investment in the delusion of our prevailing understandings of power, freedom and democracy in the country with robust treatment options. So, shall we begin?”
Democracy & Delusion has already made its way on to the international stage, with the University of Richmond in the US ordering it for a faculty group coming to tour South Africa.
Before Mpofu-Walsh and Pinnock, the prize was lifted by a book that shook the medical fraternity and got public health experts talking. This was Phalime’s memoir Postmortem: The Doctor Who Walked Away.
The criteria for entry are as follows:
Relevance: The book should add to our understanding of South African society, history and politics.
Independence: The book should be unafraid to investigate difficult issues and tell tough tales.
Credibility: The quality of the research or autobiographical insight must be impeccable.
Readability: The book must be accessible and appeal to South African readers.
Submissions should include a one-page motivation on the relevance of the proposed book, a draft table of contents, at least one chapter with a minimum of 4 000 words and an author CV. The closing date for entries is July 30.
Proposals must be submitted electronically. To download an entry form, go to nb.co.za/Citypress