Winners in the South Africa Book Awards: Voted for by Booksellers

In News by Porter Anderson

The SA Book Awards program bases its shortlist on the bestseller date of Nielsen BookScan in a program now 23 years old.

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

A Total 35,000 Rand in Prize Money
As you may remember, the SA Book Awards—SA for South Africa—are conferred in three categories and their winners are voted for by booksellers from a list of bestsellers in a program enabled by Nielsen BookScan South Africa.

This year, the program is in its 23rd year, and its award announcements were made on Tuesday (October 3) in an online program.

Again, the program confers its honors in three categories, fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books. Each category winner receives 5,000 rand (US$255), and one overall winner—the writer holding the title with the most votes—wins 20,000 rand (US$1,024).

  • The nonfiction award has gone to Louisa Holst for The South African Air Fryer Cookbook (Ecco).
  • The fiction award has been given to Sally Andrew–now a second-time winner–for Recipes for Love and Murder.
  • The winner of both the children’s book category and the overall prize for the most votes goers to a small handful of folks: My First African Adventure (Penguin Random House South Africa) is by Riaan Manser with Murray Williams and Chantal Turling, illustrated by Marinus Van Tee.

This is a program supported by Nielsen BookData in coordination with the Publishers Association of South Africa and the South African Booksellers Association.

An interior page from ‘My First African Adventure’

The children’s book is of particular interest, in that Riaan Manser is the South African adventurer who bicycled 37,000 kilometers (23,000 miles) through 34 nations to circumnavigate the African coastline. The trek required two years and two months.

The book’s Van Tee illustrations include maps of the continent’s countries Manser cycled through, with introductory facts about each nation. At 120 pages, the book is rated for grades 3 and 4.

Manser has also written an account of his biking-Africa trek for adults, Around Africa on My Bicycle from Jonathan Ball Books.


More from Publishing Perspectives on South Africa is here, more from us on publishing and book awards is here, and more on Nielsen is here

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.