Two Aids books win Alan Paton award

The Alan Paton Award for 2006 was jointly won by Adam Levin for his book AidSafari and Judge Edwin Cameron’s Witness to Aids, Sunday Times Awards convenor, Michele Magwood said on Saturday.

“In a nod to both the new and the brave in contemporary English South African writing, two books confronting the Aids scourge jointly won this year’s Alan Paton Non-Fiction Award,” said Magwood.

The announcement of the winners of the prestigious literary awards was made on Saturday evening at a banquet attended by South African writers and publishers.

“The five judges believed strongly that both Levin and Cameron displayed exceptional integrity and bravery in laying bare as public testimony the details of their experience and their struggle with Aids,” said Magwood.

Their works were of immense value at a time when the de-stigmatisation of Aids remained a problem in the fight against the epidemic on the continent, Magwood said.

The Fiction Prize winner Coldsleep Lullaby by Cape Town advocate and police reservist Andrew Brown, provided another interesting twist to this year’s awards.

Up against works by literary titans such as Nobel Laureate JM Coetzee’s Slow Man and Andre Brink’s Praying Mantis, the fiction judges were united in their verdict that “the book is a finely crafted novel with authentic characters that plays on certain stereotypes, only to dispel them”.

Coldsleep Lullaby—Brown’s second published novel—is a book about a murder mystery and is set in Stellenbosch.

“The writing is compelling, the themes new and contemporary and the story adds a layer of understanding onto South Africa that hasn’t been experienced before”.

The Sunday Times Fiction Prize and the Alan Paton Non-Fiction Award, are respectively the country’s most financially lucrative English language literary awards at R50 000 each and are awarded annually to recognise exceptional writing in English by South Africans. - Sapa