Malla Nunn
Allen & Unwin

Fifteen-year-old Amandla’s mother has always been strange. For starters, she’s a white woman living in Sugar Town, one of South Africa’s infamous shanty towns. She won’t tell anyone, not even Amandla, about her past. And she has visions, including ones that promise the return of Amandla’s father as if he were a prince in a fairytale, but their hardscrabble life is no fairytale.

Judges’ Comments

An engaging, well-written socio-economic/family drama, exploring racism, poverty and wealth in Durban, South Africa. Well-developed and authentic with tangible differences between the city and the township. The entire cast of characters felt nuanced, with their own stories happening, and were fleshed out and full of life, each with unique reactions to the drama and for the most part managed to avoid being stereotypes. The setting was rich and well described. Despite being a setting far removed from a typical Australian teen’s experience, there were enough elements in the story to relate to, while simultaneously giving insight into another way of life. The story unfolds gently and is well-paced, maintaining tension. Each twist/dramatic event happening in a realistic manner, sparking emotion, drama, and humour, creating an entirely enjoyable read. An up-lifting story of ‘Ubuntu’, the Zulu idea of compassion and humanity.

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