On this blog you will find NEWS about
writing and illustrating Children's Books, the society and its members and activities as well as links to websites and blogs about Children's Books

MER Awards

Media24 Books Literary and Jan Rabie Rapport Awards

(formerly known as the Via Afrika Literary Awards)

were announced at an award ceremony on Friday 10 June

esteemed prizes are awarded annually for works published in the previous year
and aim to acknowledge and applaud excellence in local literature. Eighteen
judges from various spheres were appointed to adjudicate the entries received
across the various categories.

following two children’s book awards were given:

  • The M.E.R Prize for best youth novel (ages 8 to 16,
    however not exclusive).

  • The M.E.R. Prize for best illustrated children's book
    (ages 0 to 8, however not exclusive).

prize money is R35 000 per category. For the M.E.R. Prize for children’s
illustrated books, the prize money is divided between the author and the

winner of M.E.R. award for best illustrated children’s book is

/ Net Sisi by Wendy Hartmann, illustrations by
Joan Rankin

short list for the M.E.R. Prize for best illustrated children's book was
(in alphabetical


/Net Sisi

by Wendy Hartmann, illustrated by Joan Rankin, published by Human &

Thandiwe's Choice / Thandiwe
by Mari Grobler,
illustrated by Elizabeth Pulles, published by Tafelberg

Nici's Pocket Presents / Sandra se seepresente by Marion Drew, illustrated by Vian Oelofsen,
published by Tafelberg


Joan Rankin

JUST SISI contains five stories by Wendy Hartmann: a
journey past unseen African dangers, a surprise party, painting the wall of
Gogo’s house, welcoming Dad home and saying goodnight. Also translated into
Afrikaans by Philip de Vos. Beautiful, expressive illustrations by
internationally known artist, Joan Rankin, compliment the sparingly written,
but spot on text.

About Wendy Hartmann

Born in Cape Town, South Africa

“When I was about five or six years old, I saw the
Easter Bunny. I was so excited I was hysterical. I was told it was not the
Easter bunny, it was a dog.

At first, I was stunned, but later I thought – ‘but
what if?’ But what if it was the Easter Bunny? What if I was the only person in
the world that could see it? What if… what if…?

Those words started the journey. Only now have I
realised how they have coloured my whole life. They crept into the stories I
told and when I started to write, those words sparked off so many ideas. They
still do.”

Wendy has been writing since 1986. She has had more
than 40 children’s books published. Some of these have been published in
America, Britain and Japan and have been translated into other languages. Her
books have been selected for Honours Lists and have won awards for writing and

She has written television scripts for Children’s
Programmes and books ranging from concept and counting, educational and
beginner readers to picture books. She has a studio at home where she writes.
She also paints in her spare time. Wendy lives in Table View, which overlooks
Cape Town and the famous Table Mountain.

About Joan Rankin

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa

“All my life I have loved humorous books. All the
4-page books I made as a child were to amuse my family.

Animals have been a favourite subject. They are
non-racist and don't get offended when drawn doing silly things.

My first real efforts to become a children's book
person, were made in the years when my two younger daughters were writing their
matriculation. I must have been under the impression that I would have lots of
time on my hands. I did twelve books - none of which ever got published. It was
only when I won the Daan Retief prize that I got books to illustrate - all from
Daan Retief Publishers.

After illustrating forty books one gets a good idea
how to write. However, I have had a wonderful mentor in Niki Daly who has
helped and inspired me.

My grandchildren have also been a source of

It's quite a lonely career and one seldom hears if
anyone has even seen any of the books. On the other hand Grandchildren like you
to read the same book over and over until you are sick of it.

Another way to get together with people is to do
workshops. One not only learns a lot but it is such a reward to see the sparkle
in peoples’ eyes when they have achieved things that they didn't expect.”

Joan studied graphic art at Michaelis Art School Cape
Town and studied Fine Art with Sidney Goldblatt for several years. She worked
in Fibre Art and puppetry; mainly shadow theatre. She has illustrated over
thirty books for children, many of which she has written herself and which have
been published internationally. She won the HAUM Daan Retief Publishers
Competition for children’s book illustration in 1986, the Katrina Harris Award
for Children’s Book Illustration in 1991and the Oppenheim toy portfolio gold
award in 2003. Joan has participated in exhibitions in Barcelona, Bratislava,
Sarmede, Italy, New York and Japan. She lives with her husband and family in

Award for best Youth Novel is

by Derick van der Walt (Tafelberg)

short list for the M.E.R Prize for best youth novel was
(in alphabetical

Sidekick by Adeline Radloff, published by Tafelberg

Speurhond Willem op reis by Elizabeth Wasserman, published by Tafelberg

Willem Poprok by Derick van der Walt, published by Tafelberg


Willem Poprok by Derick van der Walt

The story of the Van Vuurens of Pretoria, who own the Blou Bul Slaghuis in
the mall. There are three sons and a “laatlammetjie” little sister, with whom
the youngest son, Willem, has a special bond. The story revolves around a
competition for “Dad of the Year”, in which the sons enter their father.

This is an honest portrayal of an average South African family’s individual
struggles, loves, hopes, fears and how these keep them together. Very funny at
times – every reader will recognize dynamics from their own family life in this

Silver winner: Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature 2009

More about Derick van der Walt

Derick is the owner of a Pretoria-based communications
consultancy, specialising in corporate publishing.

He has been writing professionally for many years and,
although he won his first award for creative writing when he was only 11 years
old, in a competition organised by the South African Broadcasting Corporation,
he only recently tried his hand at serious writing. Lien se Lankstaanskoene,
his first book, won the 2007 Sanlam Golden Award for Youth Literature. Derick
plans to continue writing youth novels, as it is a genre he feels at home with.
However, he has also written a number of short stories aimed at adult readers.

But his interests are not limited to the written word.
Derick loves good food, cold wine and rugby (not necessarily in that order!),
and he is passionate about music of all kinds - from Norah Jones to Gershwin.
Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff's piano concertos are special favourites.

He lives in Pretoria with his wife, Lenie, and they
have three grown sons - Tjaart, Werner and André.

No comments: