Anthony Akerman (1969)
Wits University Press is pleased to announce that the English Academy of South Africa’s 2014 Thomas Pringle Award for Best Short Story / Play has been awarded to Anthony Akerman, the author of Somewhere on the Border published by Wits University Press in 2012.
Described by Ivan Vladislavic as “chillingly brutal and grimly humorous all at once, Somewhere on the Border detonates in the present like a long-dormant mine. Since its first staging in the early 80s, Akerman’s play has lost none of its explosive power.”
Wits University Press’s publisher, Veronica Klipp said that she was delighted by the news of the award.
The adjudicators noted that
[t]his is a harrowing, dark reminder of the Border/Angola War, which is possibly more disturbing years later than at its original performances
we re-live the trauma of those [dreadful apartheid] years because ‘our memories [are] forcibly stirred from where we had conveniently buried them.”
The play’s action and language, the adjudicators said, was ‘violent and realistic’ and the characters ‘convincing’ because ‘they are drawn from experience’.
Dr Karen Batley and Ms Glenda Holcroft were on the adjudication panel.
The prize-giving ceremony will take place at the Institute for African Renaissance Studies in Pretoria on Tuesday 28 April 2015. Presentation of the awards will be followed by a Commemorative Lecture for the late Nadine Gordimer, 1991 Nobel Laureate and English Academy of South Africa patron. The lecture entitled The Fiction of Nadine Gordimer: An Historical Presentiment will be delivered by Professor Michael Titlestad.
About the author:
Anthony Akerman (1949) is a playwright and screenwriter. He was born in Durban, educated at Rhodes University and trained at the Old Vic Theatre School in Bristol. In 1975 he moved to Amsterdam. He has worked as a director in Holland, France, Mexico, Canada and South Africa. His own plays have been performed in Holland, Germany and South Africa. He returned home permanently in 1992.
His first play, Somewhere on the Border (1983), published by Wits University Press, was banned “as a publication” in South Africa. However, it was a countrywide success when performed and was nominated for the DALRO Best Play Award in 1987. The Argus called it “the ultimate anti-war statement in white South African theatre.”
In 2000, Wits University Press published Dark Outsider, a collection of Akerman’s plays.
About the English Academy Awards:
The English Academy awards are sponsored by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund and administered by the English Academy of Southern Africa. They are awarded biennially.
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Find more info about the play at www.witspress.co.za