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Dan Sleigh
K. Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award

Daniel (Dan) Sleigh was born on the farm Geelbeksfontein on the West Coast on November 3, 1938. He matriculated at Vredenburg High School and then joined the South African Navy. Until 1962, he studied at the Paarl Training College to become a Physical Education teacher, after which he taught in Namibia and Cape Town.

In 1969 he completed his BA Degree in History and English Literature at UNISA. Sleigh then completed a MA Degree cum laude, followed by a Doctorate in History in 1987 at the University of Stellenbosch. Until his retirement in 1996, Sleigh worked at the Western Cape Department of Education.

He made his literary debut in 1974 with the volume of poetry entitled Duif oor water. This was followed by historical works for young people, like Die buiteposte and Tussen twee vlae.

In 2001 he won the Sanlam/Insig/Tafelberg Competition for his novel Eilande. This novel was later also awarded the WA Hofmeyr, RAU, M-Net and Helgaard Steyn Prizes.

Did you know?
Islands, André P. Brink’s English translation of Eilande, was listed by The Seattle Times as one of the ten best books of 2005. Booklist, an American library services publication, also listed it as one of the top ten debut novels of 2005. In 2004 the Dutch translation, Stemmen uit zee, reached the 98th spot on the Dutch booksellers’ list of bestsellers.

Books still in print
Eilande, Tafelberg (2002)
Afstande, Tafelberg (2010)
Wals met Matilda, Tafelberg (2011)
C Louis Leipoldt Prize (1971) – Duif oor water
Winner of the Sanlam/Insig/Kwela Great Novel Competition (2001) – Eilande
WA Hofmeyr Prize (2003) – Eilande
RAU Prize for Creative Writing (2003) – Eilande
M-Net Prize for Creative Writing in Afrikaans (2004) – Eilande
Helgaard Steyn Prize (2004) – Eilande
Medal from the Academy for Science and Culture (2007)

List of titles
1971 Duif oor water, Tafelberg

Prose: novels
1972 Die nege-maande-mars, Tafelberg
1973 ’n Man om te hardloop, Tafelberg
1977 Sersant Barodien, Kaapse Korps, Tafelberg
1978 ’n Kanon vir Barbier, Tafelberg
1979 Vryburger Tas, Tafelberg
2002 Eilande, Tafelberg
2010 Afstande, Tafelberg
2011 Wals met Matilda, Tafelberg

Prose: youth novels
1974 Tussen twee vlae, Tafelberg
1975 Onder die bittervaan, Tafelberg
1976 Anselm en die jut, Van der Walt

1978 Jan Kompanjie: die wêreld van die Verenigde Oos-Indiese Kompanjie, Tafelberg
1979 Ruiters teen die Ryk, Nasou
1988 The Huguenots (met AJ Grant en Ronald Mayo), Maskew Miller Longman
1993 Die buiteposte, HAUM
1996 The Forts of the Liesbeeck Frontier, Castle Military Museum
1999 The Rode Against an Empire, Castle Military Museum

Eilande (2002)
English (Islands, 2004) and Dutch (Stemmen uit zee, 2004)

“This novel, translated from the Afrikaans by André Brink, was offered to me for review with an apologetic note advising me to abandon it at the first onset of boredom. Seven hundred and fifty dense pages later I can report that it is riveting throughout. Based on the first 50 years of Dutch settlement in South Africa, it is a monumental, vividly imagined epic that, in spite of its huge cast and range, maintains its balance and direction.” – John de Falbe, The Spectator (2004)

“I can only beg you: make time for this brisk, dense and entirely fascinating book. Its scale is exhilarating, not exhausting. Dan Sleigh has made a whole history dance and has defied time to bring back, like some sorcerer, the beat and blood of lives that would otherwise be only traces in the documents of an old colony.” – Michael Pye, The Scotsman (2004)