Zacharia wins the 2008 NOMA Award for Publishing in Africa
The Noma Award for Publishing in Africa announces that Zachariah Rapola has won the Noma Award for Publishing in Africa for 2008, for his collection of short stories, Beginnings of a Dream. The book was published in 2007 by Jacana Media, South Africa.
The Jury's citation reads:
"A strikingly original collection, the first story Beginnings of a Dream is a gem, absorbing, imaginative, and simply stunning. Whilst rooted in the township, it connects heavily in the private and inner lives of the characters and their preoccupation with the invisible experiences of their lives, thoughts and dreams. The story derives its power and authority not from the invocation of reality but its focus on that which is unreal but persistently imaginable. The notion of the dream and its significance, steeped in a compelling sense of unreality, is developed through the collection, with extraordinarily atmospheric writing, and remarkable simulation of women's voices. The surreal landscape is at the same time firmly rooted in African belief systems. This location of most of the stories in the interior world of its characters makes thoughts and memories central to an understanding of the cultural geography of the township."
Zachariah Rapola is a freelance writer and filmmaker born and raised in Alexandra, Johannesburg. The National Arts Council of South Africa awarded him a fellowship to the University of Iowa's International Writing Program in 2000. In 2001 his widely acclaimed youth novel Stanza on the Edge was published by Maskew Miller Longman, and he is currently developing a television series based on the novel. His short stories and poetry have been published in magazines and anthologies, and he has also written for a BBC/SABC comedy series. The Noma Award, under the auspices of UNESCO, will be presented to Zachariah Rapola at a special ceremony details of which will be announced later. 40 publishers, from 10 African countries, submitted titles in 6 languages for the 2008 competition. The Jury singled out a further three titles for Special Commendation, and three titles for Honourable Mention. The Noma Award Jury is chaired by Walter Bgoya from Tanzania, one of Africa's most distinguished publishers, with wide knowledge of both African and international publishing. The other members of the Jury in 2008 were: Professor Simon Gikandi, Robert Schirmer Professor of English at Princeton University; Professor Peter Katjavivi, Chairman of the National Planning Commission in the Government of Namibia, and former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Namibia; and Mary Jay, Secretary to the Managing Committee (the Jury). The Award is sponsored by Kodansha Ltd, Japan
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