Mandla Langa has won the University of Johannesburg Prize for 2022 for his novel The Lost Language of the Soul, published by Picador.
A’Eysha Kassiem and Lisa-Anne Julien jointly won the debut prize, for their works Suitcase of Memory (Kwela) and If You Save Me (Kwela), respectively.
Langa will receive R70 000 in prize money and the R35 000 for the debut prize will be split between Kassiem and Julien.
The prize is not genre-specific, but open "to as many forms of creative writing as possible".
"This may make the evaluation more challenging," say the organisers, "in the sense that, for example, a volume of poetry, a novel and a biographical work must be measured against one another", but the idea is to broaden the scope of the award.
About 60 books were submitted for the prize this year, said the Johannesburg Review of Books. All would have been published in the course of 2021.