The judges’ decision was unanimous. Tammy Baikie wins the 2015/16 Dinaane Debut Fiction Award for her distinctively clever novel, Selling LipService. She receives a R35 000 cash prize and publication of her book by Jacana Media, with the title being launched as part of Exclusive Books’ Homebru campaign in June 2017.
Not to be forgotten, runners-up Saul Musker (No Word Like Home) and Thabiso Mofokeng (The Last Stop) both narrowly missed being awarded the accolade for their exceptionally well-written and creative manuscripts. We have no doubt that their work will be picked up for publication, so keep an eye out!
For the first time, the Kraak Writing Grant was also awarded. That went to Andile Cele, author of Braids and Migraines. The grant is valued at R25 000 and dedicated to the memory of Gerald Kraak. It offers the recipient mentoring and intensive coaching from Alison Lowry – editor, publishing expert and writer – enabling the author to refine and develop their work still further.
The aim of these awards is to ensure that great southern African fiction continues to be published, by making possible new literature which may otherwise not have come about – not because of its merits, but because of the market forces which constrain us all in the book world. If you entered your manuscript, showed an interest or if you buy these books, you are keeping local fiction alive – the JLF thanks you!
About Selling LipService
In Frith’s consumerist world, everyone has a stroke around the age of 18. After this coming of haemhorr-age, writing and speaking is only possible if you’re wearing LipService transdermal patches. Sponsored by corporations, the language of each patch is scripted by copywriters so that every utterance promotes the brand. For Frith’s mother, who lives and breathes the Frisson Froufrou lingerie brand, nothing could be more natural. But Frith hates everything that comes out of her own mouth.
Frith had hoped to escape the haemorrhage because of her tastures – the sense of taste that accompanies everything she touches – but she hasn’t. Experiencing the world differently has alienated her. But her inability to express herself is all the more galling because she knows language has greater range and potential than limiting LipService.
Her father worked as the custodian at the book repository – where printed literature written before the branding of all narratives is quarantined. There, Frith read books that haven’t been available to the public in decades. On her father’s death, he secretly leaves her a volume of the stories they both love.
Desperate to articulate her identity as distinct from any product, Frith experiments with pushing the limits of LipService and developing her tastures. But other elements of this consumerist society are equally interested in them for commercial gain.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tammy Baikie is a translator who qualified with French and German as source languages and who dabbles in Russian. After four years living and working in Germany, she returned home to South Africa and dreaming in English. Her translation career has continued here with advertising copy and communications as her field of specialisation. Tammy has attended the SUISS summer writing programme in Edinburgh and recently submitted her MA in Creative Writing. She was long listed in the 2010/2011 Fish International Short Story Contest.
To read extracts from all the winning stories, click here.