Thank you to all the entrants who submitted their work for consideration for the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award in 2017. When the best you have is just short of excellence, we cannot nominate a winner and for the first time since its inception 13 years ago we will have no published book for this year’s award.

However, the judges unanimously agreed to award the Kraak Writing Grant, now in its second year, to the author of Heartbeat of Africa, Maxzell Lerm. 

“The first half of the text is well written and powerful, the writer shows clear promise that, with some editorial guidance, the work could be further developed.” – Pamela Nichols, chair of the judging panel

“The smell was overwhelming. It crawled up her nose and into her mouth with each breath. She had to bite down hard on her tongue to keep from vomiting. She tasted a warm trickle of blood and eased her teeth off the soft folds of her tongue. Stay calm, she told herself over and over; it was the only thing that kept her sane. The scent of rot was almost suffocating, and she dug her nails into her hands to prevent herself from seeking a way out. I need to be still, I need to survive, she reasoned with herself. The images from the past few days were playing back and forth in her mind, depriving her of sleep. She remembered her older brother and clenched her hand, recalling his warm palm in hers. It had been days since this nightmare started and not once had she shed a tear.” – Extract from Heartbeat of Africa

Maxzell Lerm will receive mentoring and intensive coaching from an expert in the field, enabling her to refine and develop her work further. 


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