Mary Watson: Winner of the Philida Literary Award in 2022

Today, on the seventh anniversary of André Brink’s death, we pay tribute to his life and work and announce that the Philida Literary Award, established in his memory in 2020, goes to Mary Watson and is awarded to her for an oeuvre of literary excellence.

Mary Watson

Mary Watson is from Cape Town and now lives on the west coast of Ireland. She’s worked as an art museum guide, library assistant, theatre duty manager, and an actor in children’s musicals. She has a PhD from the University of Cape Town where she taught for many years. She won the Caine Prize in 2006 and writes short stories, contemporary fiction and young adult fantasy. The Wren Hunt (Bloomsbury, 2018), was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards and her latest, Blood to Poison, is out in April 2022.

Mary Watson on accepting the Philida Literary Award: “I was thinking of André a little while earlier … How I never dreamed how incredibly supportive he’d be when I summoned up the nerve to pop those pages [of Moss] in his pigeon hole. So thank you so very much. I am truly, truly honoured.”

2004 Moss

2013 The Cutting Room

2018 The Wren Hunt

2019 The Wickerlight

‘I can honestly say that I have seldom, in South African literature, come across short stories of such suggestive power as these … Our literature will be the richer for accommodating a voice of this calibre, persuasive power and exquisite beauty.’

– André Brink about Moss

‘This novel is the work of someone who really knows what they’re doing, who knows how to use words to draw in and enchant her readers, and who has proven herself time and time again as a master storyteller.’

– Sally Partridge about The Wren Hunt

The 2022 Philida Literary Award judges were Sally Partridge, Karina M. Szczurek, Lester Walbrugh and Christy Weyer.