Songeziwe Mahlangu is the winner of the 2014 Etisalat Prize for Literature for his debut novel Penumbra, which arose out of Mahlangu’s MA in Creative Writing at Rhodes University in 2012. He will receive a cash prize of £15 000, a book tour to three African cities, as well as an Etisalat Fellowship to the University of East Anglia. In addition, Etisalat purchased 1000 copies of Penumbra to distribute across the continent.
The novel, which was also shortlisted for the 2014 Sunday Times Literary Award is set in Cape Town and tells the story of a restless young graduate, Mangaliso Zolo, working at an alienating office job for a large corporate insurance company. He suffers from mental illness, most probably schizophrenia, and the reader follows him on the chaotic journey of his mind for several days through the university southern suburbs.
The Etisalat Prize was created in 2013 in order to celebrate young, first-time African writers and to promote a culture of reading across in Africa. It is the first ever pan-African prize of its kind. The other finalists were Nigerian author Chinelo Okparanta (Happiness, Like Water) and the South African Nadia Davids (An Imperfect Blessing). Kwela author Novuyo Rosa Tshuma was longlisted for the Prize for her debut collection of short stories Shadows.
Last Modified: Wed, 18 Mar 2015 09:20:41 SAST