The 17th Barry Ronge Prize for fiction was awarded to Zakes Mda for his book, Little Suns (published by Umuzi), while Greg Marinovich was the recipient of the 28th Alan Paton Award for non-fiction writing for Murder at Small Koppie: The Real Story of the Marikana Massacre (published by Penguin Books).

Jennifer Platt, Sunday Times‘ book editor, says, “The shortlists were particularly powerful this year. The judges had a tough job, indeed. At the end, two winners were chosen, which speaks to who we are as a country now – especially in examining our past and scrutinising our present.”

Professor Pippa Green chaired a panel which included Justice Johann Kriegler and Professor Tinyiko Maluleke in deciding the Alan Paton Award. The judges called Marinovich’s book, Murder at Small Koppie: The Real Story of the Marikana Massacre, ‘one of the most important books of the year’. They said it was ‘so far, the definitive account of the Marikana massacre’.

The Barry Ronge Fiction Prize was decided by a judging panel consisting of Africa Melane and Kate Rogan, chaired by Rehana Rossouw. The judges said that Little Suns was a ‘novel of rich, magical, African imagery’. They applauded Mda for ‘bringing history to glorious life, in writing that is unique to him’.

The winners each received a R100 000 prize from the Sunday Times for their contribution to South African literature.