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Monday, July 19, 2010


In their quest to create the perfect cover for their upcoming title Zuma’s Bastard by Azad Essa, the powers that be at Two Dogs books have opened their minds, thought outside of the box, pushed the envelope… and asked other people to do it for them.

Specifically, the Cape Town-based publisher is targeting young and upcoming graphic designers trying to make a name for themselves with the inaugural Two Dogs Young Visual Designer Cover Competition 2010. It offers a cash prize of R2,500 and a trade cover credit for the designer who creates the winning cover, as well as media exposure for the winner and runners-up.

The book in question, Zuma’s Bastard, is the first collection of writing from Essa who Mail & Guardian Thoughtleader readers will well know as the Accidental Academic, winner of South Africa’s Best Political Blog award 2009.

“The competition name’s a bit of a mouthful,” says Tim Richman, publishing manager of Two Dogs, “but it pretty much says what it is: we’re looking for young designers, even if they’re still studying, who want to get their names out into the industry by getting their own cover into bookstores.

“The idea actually came from Azad and his marketing guru Fathima after we’d deliberated over various cover concepts,” he continues. “We knew what ideas and even potential images we wanted to convey but there were so many directions in which we could go because Azad’s writing is eclectic and multi-faceted. We needed a practical way of getting many creative minds to think about it, so when Azad and Fathima suggested getting some mates involved – recent design grads – and offering them a prize, it was a lightbulb moment. We’ve taken it a step further from there, and hopefully this is an idea to take into the future for other Two Dogs titles.

“The competition makes sense from a financial perspective, as a way to generate extra publicity for the title and because the concept matches both the book and the brand. Azad is a young and upcoming name who we’ll be hearing a lot more from in the coming years, so it was appropriate to get similarly fresh creative minds to come up with the cover. And for Two Dogs it’s something a bit different which helps to keep us edgy and innovative, as we have tried to be from our inception.”

Successful Two Dogs titles include Some Of My Best Friends Are White and Is It Coz I’m Black? by Ndumiso Ngcobo, the Is It Just Me Or Is Everything Kak? series and Should I Stay Or Should I Go?, one of the current Homebru titles at Exclusive Books.

Entries for the competition close on August 2, 2010. For a detailed brief, please email More information at