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The Native Commissioner wins the Nielsen Booksellers' Choice Award 2007

6 August 2007, Woking: The Bookseller's Choice Award, sponsored by Nielsen, is chosen and presented by the South African book trade in recognition of outstanding contribution to the industry. The shortlist of six consists of: · · · · · · A City Imagined edited by Stephen Watson (Penguin) An Unpopular War by J.H. Thompson (Zebra Press/Struik) Assignment Selous Scouts by Jim Parker (Galago) Geological Journeys by Nick Norman & Gavin Whitfield (Struik) God se Apteek by Herman Uys The Native Commissioner by Shaun Johnson (Penguin)


Last year's winner was: Spud by John van de Ruit The Sifeka Awards are annual and presented at the PASA and SABA Conference. This year the conference was held at the Wanderers Club, Wanderers Protea Hotel, Johannesburg and were presented by Simon Skinner (Sales Director, Nielsen Book). The Booksellers' Choice Award is an important award for South African writing, the book trade and the reading public. It is awarded to the book that booksellers across South Africa have most enjoyed reading, selling or promoting over the past year. Only open to South African authors who are published in South Africa, the award draws attention to the excellence and high standard of South African writing. In addition to the BookSellers' Choice Award, the following Sefika Awards were presented: Bookseller Awards: · Academic Bookseller of the Year · Emerging Bookseller of the Year · Library Supplier of the Year · Trade Bookseller of the Year New for 2007: · Best Educational Bookseller Publisher Awards: · Best Trade Publisher

Protea Boekwinkel U'nique Books Clarkes Bookshop Exclusive Books (Johannesburg International) Exclusive Books (Hyde Park) Boekehuis Caxton Books

Random House

· ·

Best Academic Publisher Best Education Publisher

Juta Academic Maskew Miller Longman

Nielsen Book also sponsors similar awards in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

This year's winner: The Native Commissioner

Alison Lowry, CEO of Penguin Books South Africa, was delighted: "It has been a fantastic year for Penguin South Africa's fiction, and to have won Book of the Year two years in a row is wonderful recognition for our list. The Native Commissioner was a powerful book right from the start and it is heartening to witness how the country's booksellers got behind author Shaun Johnson with such support and enthusiasm. Coming as it does after winning the M-Net Award, the Commonwealth Award: Africa Region and being shortlisted for the Sunday Times Award, this is just the cherry on the top for Penguin and for Shaun. We are proud to be his publishers." Sam Jameson, eight years old at the time of his father George's death, decides, some forty years later, to go through the box of his father's papers which his mother had passed on to him. In trying to piece together the life of a parent he never really knew, Sam discovers a sensitive, inherently kind but insecure man. George has seemingly spent his working life as a native commissioner conscientiously carrying out his duties, but has never quite been able to come to terms with the white man's place in Africa. As his doubts deepen he is overwhelmed by despair . . . .

The author, Shaun Johnson as a journalist for many years, launching South Africa's Sunday Independent and becoming MD of Independent Newspapers in South Africa, before accepting the role of CEO for the Mandela Rhodes Foundation. The Native Commissioner is his first novel. He lives in Cape Town.

Notes to the Editor: For more information about the Nielsen Booksellers' Choice Award, contact: Mo Siewcharran, Head of Marketing t: +44 (0)870 777 8710 or e: [email protected] SA contacts: BookData/SAPnet: Freda van Wyk: +27 21 852 3716 [email protected] PASA: Dudley Schroeder: +27 21 425 2721 [email protected] The Shortlist:

A City Imagined by Stephen Watson (Penguin Group)

Stephen Watson asked twenty South African writers to express their relationship to Cape Town and, above all, their sense of the unique genius or spirit of this city. What emerges from A City Imagined is a composite portrait of Cape Town, more various, heterogeneous, complex even in its beauty, than that to be found in the standard treatments of the place. Contributions from Andre Brink, Damon Galgut, Sindiwe Magona, Jeremy Cronin, Jenefer Shute, Anthony Sher, Mark Behr, Henrietta Rose-Innes, Justin Cartwright, Finuala Dowling, Michiel Heyns, Luke Fiske, Mike Nicol, Marlene van Niekerk, Nkululeko Mabandla and PR Anderson.

Stephen Watson, a Professor in English and current Director of the Creative Writing Centre at the University of Cape Town, has won a number of awards for his poetry and is regarded by many as one of the finest South African poets writing today. Professor Watson's collections of poetry include Return of the Moon: Versions from the /Xam, and Presence of the Earth: New Poems. His most recent work, The Other City: Selected Poems is widely acclaimed.

An Unpopular War by JH Thompson ( Zebra Press/Struik)

In the seventies, eighties and nineties, conscription had a profound effect on hundreds of thousands of young men, particularly those who had to serve in the Angolan war. This title is a collection of reflections and memories of that time, collected by JH Thompson, who interviewed men who did National Service. Contributors include ordinary soldiers, Special Forces members, helicopter pilots, chefs and religious objectors. The title captures the spirit and atmosphere, the daily duties, the boredom, fear and other intense experiences of an SADF soldier Educated in Spain and South Africa, JH Thompson is a freelance journalist who has been writing and travelling extensively most of her life. She writes movie reviews, travel articles, features for numerous magazines, and had a wildlife column when she was a game ranger. She currently resides in Johannesburg.

Assignment Selous Scouts: Inside Story of a Rhodesian Special Branch Officer by Jim

Parker (Galago Publishing) Written from the author's personal knowledge and first-hand experience, Assignment Selous Scouts illuminates the day-to-day horrors of the bloody and brutal terror war that was fought in the former Rhodesia against Marxist guerrillas. By the war's end there had been 21,782 recorded terrorist incidents in the country and 1,276 landmine detonations, causing 7,283 casualties. Although involved in the conflict earlier while serving as a policeman, the author stepped back into the Rhodesian Bush War in mid 1977 when as a farmer and a Police A Reservist he was appointed as a Special Branch liaison officer with the Selous Scouts at their Chiredzi Fort in the Lowveld. Jim Parker was born in Zambia and educated in Rhodesia. After five years in the British South Africa Police he resigned to manage the family's sugar farm at Chiredzi in the Rhodesia lowveld. In 1977 at the peak of the Bush War he joined the ranks of Special Branch Selous Scouts as an A Reserve Detective Section Officer. He served with this elite unit for protracted periods of service without remuneration until the summary disbandment of the Selous Scouts when Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF assumed power in March 1980. He is now a farmer in South Africa.

Geological Journeys by Gavin Whitfield & Nick Norman (Struik Publishers)

Geological Journeys is a traveller's guide to South Africa's rocks and landforms. For those who wonder about the particular tilt of a mountain ahead, the unusual patterns of a road cutting, the colour and texture of the roadside soil, or the purpose of a distant minehead, this volume offers answers and explanations about features along all the major routes across South Africa, and some of the lesser, but geologically interesting, routes too. Using familiar landmarks to pinpoint sites and subtle phenomena, the authors bring to light South Africa's rich geological heritage, its likely roots and often tumultuous history. Along the way, they also discuss the historical background, personalities and stories that relate to the landscape. Gavin Whitfield graduated from Rhodes University with Honours in geology and later completed an MSc in kimberlite studies. After working in a geological research laboratory he spent 28 years in mineral exploration for a number of major mining companies. This work took him to the Middle East, the Netherlands and Zambia. He currently runs a geological consulting business. He lives in Johannesburg with his wife and has an adult son. Nick Norman, Geological Journeys - Struik Publishers Nick Norman was born and raised in KwaZulu-Natal. He holds an MSc in Geology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and has worked in mineral exploration in both Africa and South America. He is currently a consulting geologist in various parts of Africa and lives with his wife and two children in Franschhoek, Western Cape.

God se Apteek by Herman Uys (Bambi Boeke)

This book examines 88 of the most general ailments and sicknesses, their underlying causes, and how natural remedies such as fruit, vegetables, plants and herbs can be used to prevent and heal. God se Apteek also looks in detail at the different blood groups and the most suitable diets for each group. Herman Uys matriculated in Bethlehem in the Free State, earning B.A. B.D. degrees and a diploma in Theology at the University of Pretoria. Herman served for a 19 years in full time Pastoral ministry. His interest in natural health remedies has lead him into intense study and research in this field which culminated in lecturing on this subject nationwide. "God's Pharmacy" was published in 2003 following public demand and became an unexpected national bestseller.

About Nielsen Book Nielsen Book has four key brands: Registration Agencies (ISBN, SAN, DOI), BookData, BookNet and BookScan. Nielsen BookScan operates the world's only continuous retail monitoring service for Englishlanguage books. BookScan operates in the UK, Ireland, US, Australia, South Africa, Italy and Spain. Nielsen BookData is the leading provider of comprehensive, enriched and timely bibliographic data worldwide. BookData provides a unique source of bibliographic data services to booksellers, libraries and publishers in 110 countries around the world. Under the brand Nielsen BookNet, it also provides value-added transaction services to the industry. The group employs more than 150 staff in the UK. The company is wholly owned by The Nielsen Company, one of the world's largest publishing and information companies.


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