THE longlist for the 2016 Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Prize has been announced.
The prize criteria stipulate that the winner should be “a novel of rare imagination and style, evocative, textured and a tale so compelling as to become an enduring landmark of contemporary fiction”.
The books on the longlist are: Recipes for Love and Murder: A Tannie Maria Mystery by Sally Andrew; The Shouting in the Dark by Elleke Boehmer; Boy on the Wire by Alastair Bruce; Sweet Medicine by Panashe Chigumadzi; What About Meera by ZP Dala; The Fetch by Finuala Dowling; Glowfly Dance by Jade Gibson; The Dream House by Craig Higginson; The Space Between the Space Between by John Hunt; The Seed Thief by Jacqui L’Ange; Day Four by Sarah Lotz; Chasing The Tails of My Father’s Cattle by Sindiwe Magona; Dub Steps by Andrew Miller; Notes From the Lost Property Department by Bridget Pitt; The Magistrate of Gower by Claire Robertson; Green Lion by Henrietta Rose-Innes; What Will People Say by Rehana Rossouw; Hour of Darkness by Michéle Rowe; A Slim, Green Silence by Beverly Rycroft; Hunger Eats a Man by Nkosinathi Sithole; Now Following You by Fiona Snyckers; The Raft by Fred Strydom; Piggy Boy’s Blues by Nakhane Toure; Wasted by Mark Winkler; It Might Get Loud by Ingrid Winterbach, edited by Michiel Heyns.
This year’s judging panel is made up of Rustum Kozain (chairperson), Angela Makholwa-Moabelo and Stephen Johnson.
Speaking about the longlist, Kozain said the selection was as challenging as last year. “There are books by old hands and first books, and a varied range in terms of themes and stylistic approaches,” he added. “Some are set in the past, while some engage with the past through characters’ memories.
“Memory, it seems, remains a popular substrate on which to build fictions – or it may be that the mechanics of biography and autobiography fuels much fictionalisation. But there are also books set in a more contemporary space and others in an apocalyptic future.
“Some engage with contemporary political issues, from internet-enabled stalking to stories of and from underrepresented rural perspectives… There is seriousness and humour, light humour and black humour. South African writers are writing. It is a daunting field – the process is going to be intense.”
Last year’s winner was Damon Galgut for his novel, Arctic Summer (Umuzi).
The shortlist will be announced on Saturday, May 14 at the Franschhoek Literary Festival. The winner of the 2016 Barry Ronge Fiction Prize will receive R100 000.