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Archive for the ‘Competitions’ Category

Congratulations to the Short.Sharp.Stories. Adults Only winners

Nick Mulgrew with Adults Only

Nick Mulgrew holding Adults Only

It’s official!


Congratulations to the Short.Sharp.Stories. Awards winners:

Nick Mulgrew is the Judges’ Choice Winner for Best Story for Turning, “a story of youthful love that was handled with a deft touch, elevated by its clever linguistic insertions and a lovely sense of place.”

Sean Mayne receives the second Judges’ Choice Award for his comedic story Bring On The Clowns, “a feel good read which offers the luxury of laughing out loud.”

Tiffany Kagure Mugo receives the Publisher’s Choice Award, for Best New Voice, for her story Coming Into Self-Awareness, “an exuberant, enthusiastic tale which hit the brief perfectly, overflowing with sex and sensuality.”

Donvé Lee is the recipient of the Editor’s Choice Award, for her story The Mirror. “So human and tender, bringing the eternal questions of body-image to the fore.”

Nick Mulgrew has won R20 000 while Sean Mayne, Tiffany Kagure Mugo and Donvé Lee each received R5 000.


From Sarah Kingon, of Cue:

 Adults Only was officially launched on 9 July at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown at a discussion panel which featured Rhodes journalism lecturer and contributor Gillian Rennie; Alexander Matthews, editor of online publication Aerodrome; and Nick Mulgrew, Associate Editor of Prufrock literary magazine, whose story Turning wins this year’s R20 000 prize sponsored by the National Arts Festival. “As a writer,” said Mulgrew, “I never feel completely self-assured so this is a form of writing vindication.” His unique contribution to the anthology tells the story of a linguistics student at Rhodes, whose girlfriend realises she is lesbian. The beauty of the story lies in the way that linguistics weaves through this narrative about sex and homophobia.

Adults Only is the second Short.Sharp.Stories collection to be released and the topic of sex and sensuality was chosen this year because of its popularity in contemporary literature. “The collection explores the experiences of real human beings clashing around relationships,” said Hichens.

The 22 stories, selected from more than 150 entries, range in theme and style as well as the writing experience of the authors. Contributors include accomplished writers such as Christine Coates, Carla Lever and Bobby Jordan, as well as a number of new, young writers including Tiffany Kagure Mugo. Tales range from those of the bored housewife to gay marriage and on-off student relationships, while one of the more hard-hitting stories features a sado-masochistic ‘partnership’.

The discussion was not only about the book, but the purpose of such a book in a South African Context. Hichens believes that Adults Only, alongside last year’s anthology Bloody Satisfied (a crime thriller collection), offers a unique South African voice to the reader. The project gives South African writers a platform to be published, and the opportunity to be read.

“And short stories are great for those of us with ADD,” laughed contributor Alexander Matthews. “With new technology, the way we read has changed. We now read in short sharp bursts.”

Festival CEO Tony Lankester said he was proud to continue to fund this literary venture. “Festival is about good stories, and part of that is good quality writing.”

Next year’s title was announced as Incredible Journey – a broad theme, “so stories can range from science fiction to road trips or even journeys of the mind,” said Hichens. The call for entries will be made on





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Adults Only winners

Mercury Books and Short.Sharp.Stories, in conjunction with the National Arts Festival, are proud to announce the prize winners and commended stories from this year’s Short.Sharp.Story anthology, Adults Only.

The authors of the highly commended stories are (in alphabetical order):

Ken Barris

Christine Coates

Dudumalingani Mqombothi

Alex Smith


The authors of the top four stories are (in alphabetical order):

Donvé Lee

Sean Mayne

Tiffany Kagure Mugo

Nick Mulgrew


The overall winner will be announced at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown at the book’s launch – the 9th July, at 15:00 in the Rhodes Nuns Chapel. The winning author will receive R20 000 in prize money, and the other three authors will receive R5 000 each. The book will be available countrywide in July.

See here for more on Adults Only:

Adults Only

Adults Only

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Adults Only authors announced

Mercury Books is proud to announce the final author list for Adults Only:


Ken Barris

Efemia Chela

Christine Coates

Anthony Ehlers

Chantelle Gray van Heerden

Bobby Jordan

Aryan Kaganof

Donvé Lee

Carla Lever

Justine Loots

Alexander Matthews

Sean Mayne

Wamuwi Mbao

Dudumalingani Mqombothi

Tiffany Kagure Mugo

Nick Mulgrew

Gillian Rennie

Arja Salafranca

Alex Smith

Jo Stielau

Alan Walters

Eugene Yiga


Adults Only is the second of the SHORT.SHARP.STORIES annual anthologies, produced in conjunction with the National Arts Festival. Following 2013’s successful Bloody Satisfied, an eclectic mix of crime-thriller stories, this year’s anthology covers the fashionable theme of sex and sensuality.

Offering a sense of real characters caught in tangled webs of love and lust, the stories included run the gamut from raw and dangerous to sensitive and reserved. Whether risqué, titillating, questioning, provocative, poignant or even perverse, sex and sensuality are guaranteed throughout the collection. Edited by Joanne Hichens, and with a foreword by Helena S Paige, introduction by Makhosazana Xaba and number of stories by prize-winning authors, Adults Only is sure to please.

The aim of the SHORT.SHARP.STORIES awards is to showcase South African fiction-writing talent. The prize money offered, totalling R35,000, is sponsored by the National Arts Festival and ensures entries of an excellent standard. There were approximately 150 entries this year, and the best 22 stories were selected for this anthology. The main prize worth R20,000, and three secondary prizes of R5,000 each will be awarded at the National Arts Festival.


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The Burnet Media Young Visual Designer Cover Competition 2011

Burnet Media (Two Dogs/Mercury) is hosting its annual cover design competition for young designers. This year, the cover will be for Out to Lunch…Ungagged by David Bullard, a non-fiction title to be published for Christmas 2011. The book will be distributed in South Africa through Jacana Media, and will be widely available in major bookstores and online.

The winner will receive R8,000 prize money, acknowledgement within the book and a winner’s certificate. The winning design will appear on the cover of the book and on the Burnet Media website. Along with the best runner-up designs, it will be featured at the book’s launch and on, the premier website covering the SA book industry. (Other feature stories are still to be finalised.) The competition is reserved for South African residents born on or after 12 September 1981. The submission date is 12 September 2011.

For the complete design brief, please click on the link below. For further information, contact Willemien at

Burnet Media cover comp brief 2011

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