No image
Chris Marnewick
K. Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award
 Chris Marnewick was born in Rustenburg on 12 August 1948. He attended six different primary schools before he went to high school in Potgietersrus/Mokopane. He served for nine months in the South African Navy as a draftee and joined the Department of Justice in 1967 as a clerk. He attended university at Potchefstroom on a Justice bursary and completed a BJuris degree in 1970. He was posted to Pinetown where he prosecuted for two years and had to learn to speak English at the same time. He was a magistrate for a year and completed his LLB degree at Unisa in 1973. Chris then entered articles of clerkship and was admitted as an attorney in 1976, but felt that he was not suited to that profession and started practising as an advocate a short time later. After conducting a number of murder trials during his early years as an advocate, Chris decided to concentrate on commercial cases. He was awarded senior counsel status in 1991 and practises in Durban. While practising he completed an LLM (1990) and a PhD (1996) from the University of Natal.Chris is especially interested in the training of newly qualified advocates and is the author of the Workbook Programme employed at the various centres where advocates receive training. His textbook, Litigation Skills for South African Lawyers (Butterworths 2002), is a prescribed work for LLB students, candidate attorneys and pupil advocates. Chris started writing Shepherds & Butchers in 2003 while teaching in New Zealand. It was published by Umuzi in 2008. The Soldier Who Said No was published in 2010. Chris is working on a third novel in which two of the principal characters in Shepherds and The Soldier will take on an old enemy for the final time. He is also writing a work of creative non-fiction in Afrikaans. This book will attempt to solve an old murder case which resulted in an execution in 1957 but where the true facts were never disclosed by the murderer or the authorities.

In 2009 Shepherds was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Africa Region) in the first book category and was shortlisted for the M-Net Main Award and also in the Film Category. The University of Johannesburg awarded Shepherds its prize for creative writing in the debut category in 2009. The last time Chris had received an award was in 1960 when as a twelve year old he received a prize – Somer by Ouma by Edith Unnerstad – for an essay on the battle between the Voortrekkers and Mzilikazi at Vegkop.

Chris ascribes his interest in reading and writing to two factors. The first is that his mother had taught him to read and write even before he went to school, and later, when she was the head matron of a small school in the Bushveld, she sent him to the school library during the school holidays to keep him from mischief. There Chris found that the world extended beyond the small farming community where they lived, and discovered Jack London, Zane Grey, Daniel Defoe and Trompie en die Boksombende, amongst others. The second reason for his interest in writing is that, as an advocate, he reads and writes for a living since much of the legal process is conducted in writing. And in the courts, he has found, fact is often stranger than fiction!

Chris is married to Ansie and they have two sons, Jacques and Michel, and one granddaughter, Layla.