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Sunday, October 23, 2011


The Jacana Literary Foundation has announced the winner of the Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award 2011.

Dawn Garisch accepted the honour for her poem Miracle at a prize-giving ceremony at the Poetry Africa festival in Durban. Second place went to Beverly Rycroft for her entry Has your Dad got a bird yet?. Third place was jointly awarded to Kea’ Modimoeng for Be lebetse batlhoki (‘They have forgotten the poor’) and Martha Pretoors for Verlore beeltenis (‘Lost picture’)

The jury comprised distinguished South African poets Vonani Bila, Charl-Pierre Naudé, Robert Berold and Liesl Jobson. The jury deliberated on the entries and sent a shortlist to the country’s Poet Laureate, Professor Keorapetse Kgositsile, who decided upon the winner.

All of the winning poems, as well as a selection of poetry entered for the competition, have been published to coincide with the Award ceremony.

The Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Anthology 2011 honours the spirit of the legendary intellectual giant, Sol Plaatje, the activist, linguist and translator, novelist, journalist and leader. This sparkling array of contributions from poets around the country will resonate with those who live in this country and those who love it from afar. Wicked and beautiful as ever it was while Plaatje observed the Boer War, translated Shakespeare, reflected on “Native Life” and played with proverbs, so the poems in this anthology bring the depth and breadth of life in South Africa to a wider audience.

Personal themes of identity, isolation and intimacy are pitted against the politics property and personhood, loss and love. Family and music, traffic and weather, bodies and buildings form the backdrop for the particular and familiar of South African life. Individual voices in a range of languages bear witness to all that is gruesome, glorious and gleeful. There is hope for a country when its poets pay attention.

The Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Anthology 2011 is published by Jacana and retails at R80. ISBN 978-1-4314-0275-5

The Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award is supported by the European Union.