uHlanga is thrilled to announce that Thabo Jijana’s Failing Maths and My Other Crimes is the winner of the 2016 Ingrid Jonker Prize for Poetry – South Africa's most prestigious poetry award – with Genna Gardini's collection, Matric Rage, given special commendation. Both collections were part of the uHlanga New Poets series in 2015.
The Ingrid Jonker Prize committee's release states:
In a fiercely-contested struggle among seven eligible volumes, Jijana’s debut emerged victorious. Jijana was championed by one judge in particular, who described his debut, with its ‘subtle, wry and memorable title’, as ‘a rich and satisfying collection where, unusually, every poem strikes something hard and vital.’ The judge went on to remark that ‘Jijana has a painterly way with the image, capturing in impossibly few words a picture that does most of the poem’s outer work, so that the poet himself can get on with what it is he is trying to say’.
The judge observed that ‘while the self is – in any enquiring poet’s obsessions – an important project, what emerges here is not the self as the bull’s eye, but the self as link – between histories, times, generations and people’.
Gardini’s debut was singled out for her ‘lyrical-experimental imagination’ which contributes to the ‘edginess’ and ‘sexiness’ of the poems and their ‘wonderfully varied scenarios’.
This year’s judges were Karin Schimke, Jim Pascual Agustin and Professor Sally-Ann Murray. Judges of the Ingrid Jonker prize are unaware of one another’s identities until judging is complete.
uHlanga would like to thank the Ingrid Jonker Prize committee and judges for this vindicating, thrilling and humbling honour for us and our two poets. We'd also like to congratulate Modjaji Books' Elisa Galgut, who also won a Commendation for The Attribute of Poetry.
The 2016 Ingrid Jonker Prize for poetry will be handed over at the Franschhoek Literary Festival on Saturday 14 May at 17.15 in the Council Chamber. This is a free event, at which uHlanga poets will be reading. For media enquiries, please email nick at uhlangapress dot co dot za.