The Philida Literary Award is awarded annually to a writer mid-career for an oeuvre of between three to five books of any genre. Established by Karina M. Brink (who writes under her maiden name Szczurek) in memory of her late husband, renowned author André Brink, the award recognises a writer with a consistent record of publishing works of excellence and aims to encourage them further in their pursuit of a literary career.
The award announcement takes place on the anniversary of André’s death, 6 February. The inaugural award was given on the fifth anniversary in 2020.
The award is named after a historical figure, the slave woman Philida van de Caab, a knitting woman, who entered South Africa’s archival records because of laying an official complaint against her masters, Francois and Cornelius Brink, distant relatives of André’s. She became the protagonist of André’s last published novel, Philida (2012). André’s rendition of her courage and resilience continues to inspire readers and writers around the world.
Judges who are immersed in the local literary community join Karina each year in choosing a worthy winner. Each winner is given an award certificate designed by Debbie Minné and an amount of money that was first determined by the royalties earned from the sales of You Make Me Possible: The Love Letters of Karina M. Szczurek and André Brink (Protea Book House, 2018). As Karina wrote in her Note on the publication, with André’s encouragement and support she was able to acknowledge the fact that she was a writer; he was an inspiration to many other writers and was always generous with his time and expertise in furthering the literary careers of others. The Philida Literary Award continues this legacy.