Van Heerden's Asbesmiddag takes the prize

30 June 2008 | Story by Newsroom

Prof Etienne van Heerden
Winner: Prof Etienne van Heerden's novel Asbesmiddag is the Afrikaans winner of the M-Net Literary Award

UCT's Professor Etienne van Heerden has scooped the Afrikaans category of the M-Net Literary Award for his novel Asbesmiddag.

Van Heerden, Professor in the School of Languages and Literatures and a postgraduate supervisor in creative writing, was one of six winners to receive the prestigious award, which is given to best entries in Afrikaans, English, Nguni, Tshivenda and Xitsonga. Each winner received R30 000.

Asbesmiddag, van Heerden's 11th book, draws parallels with the author's own life. Like Van Heerden, the main character is also a writer from Stellenbosch and a lecturer in creative writing at a Cape Town university. Another character in the book sounds suspiciously like a well-known Afrikaans businessman.

But Van Heerden insists: "..this novel is strictly fiction".

The novel focuses on the role of the artist and the ethical problems which confront a writer of fiction.

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