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Inaugural Geko Mofolo Prize for Outstanding Fiction in Sesotho 2019 did not have a winner; but Sesotho fiction writing is thriving!

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21 January 2020

ANNOUNCEMENT – In 2019, we announced Geko Mofolo Prize for Outstanding Fiction in Sesotho. We received a moderate number of submissions, certainly more than we anticipated. The entries closed on (insert date here).

The objective of Geko Mofolo Prize for Outstanding Fiction in Sesotho (GMPOFS) is to identify and reveal outstanding modern work of long-form fiction in Sesotho. The Prize’s objective is to find work that can emulate the writing brilliance of the foremost Sesotho novelist, Thomas Mofolo.

The Prize received entries from both Lesotho and South Africa. Due to the number and quality of them , the Board’s decision took longer than anticipated. In their decision, the Board was unanimous and agreed that while the work in some instances is modern  and edgy or traditional and crafty, it can be published outside of the Prize. The Board also agreed that interventions for the improvement of Sesotho fiction writing in South Africa and Lesotho are required.

While the work was of high standards, some entries did not meet the minimum requirements. After long reading efforts and consultation, the Board agreed that we will not be awarding the Prize for 2019/20.

“The work that was submitted is surely of high standards, impeccable language and original narrative. Due to Mofolo’s own brilliance and canonical importance, the Prize can only be awarded to work that approximates that” said Phehello J Mofokeng, inaugural Chair of Geko Mofolo Prize for Outstanding Fiction.

“Even though we do not have the winning work, this does not take anything away from the work that was submitted. Instead it shows that Basotho remain committed to their language and telling their own narratives” says Mathe Ntšekhe, board member of the Prize.

Thomas Mofolo’s work remains unparalleled to this day. Reaching anywhere near this giant of African language literature, is a difficult task for any modern writer.

The custodians of this Prize hope that there will be more submissions of even higher literary quality and original narratives in the future.

The Prize will open for new entries in March/April 2020 again.

ABOUT THE PRIZE

“The Thomas Mofolo Prize for Outstanding Sesotho Fiction is aimed at igniting interest and efforts in the writing of new, imaginative and original fiction writing in Sesotho in the new and modern age,” says Phehello Mofokeng, publisher and inaugural Chair of the Prize.

“It is also a modern literary honour to the African pioneer of African languages literature tradition.” The inaugural Prize officially opens for manuscripts written in any version or orthography of Sesotho on April 1, 2019. Writers, authors and all Basotho from every corner of the world, are encouraged to send their manuscripts, of no less than 25 000 (twenty-five-thousand) words for consideration. The winner of the Prize will get published by Geko Publishing SA (Pty) Ltd and be given an opportunity to enroll at the Creative Writing Summer School at Sol Plaatje University (SPU) in Kimberley, South Africa. The winner will also get a voucher to purchase books online or in-store. They will also receive a book hamper.

ABOUT THOMAS MOKOPU MOFOLO

Thomas Mokopu Mofolo is the most important writer in the Sesotho canon. He was born on 22 December 1876, in Khojane, Leribe, Lesotho. Mofolo’s work belongs to the world classical canon of literature.

With his prolific writing, Mofolo pioneered African literary tradition with his “Moeti wa Bochabela” in 1907, “Pitseng” in 1910 and “Chaka” in 1925. The library at the National University of Lesotho is named in his honour.

ABOUT GEKO PUBLISHING

Founded in 2007, Geko Publishing is devoted to strengthening African languages literature tradition.

For more information on Geko Thomas Mofolo Prize, kindly contact us as follows:

Chair: Thomas Mofolo Prize for Outstanding Fiction
www.gekopublishing.co.za/mofoloprize
mofoloprize@gekopublishing.co.za

ENDS

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