The Bank Windhoek Doek Literary Awards are awarded every two years to celebrate the works of four Namibian literary artists—two writers (fiction and nonfiction), a poet, and a visual artist—published in Doek! Literary Magazine (Doek!). The awards seek to bring a wider Namibian and international audience to the selected works, writers, poets, and visual artists.
Cultures have always produced literature as a way of preserving their pasts, documenting their present, and sharing the endless dreams and possibilities of their futures. In this way, literature has always been an important tool for communities. It is through the production, sharing, and appreciation of literature that societies, movements, and countries around the world are able to find and form their local, national, and international identities; question, define, and refine their values; and, crucially, discover engaging ways for discussing and addressing their most pressing social, political, and economic issues. Literature continues to be the cultural artefact that showcases each civilisation’s movement through time.
Literary prizes serve an important purpose: showcasing the creative thought and skill of a community’s writers, poets, and visual artists. They help to spark interest in longlisted and shortlisted works, and bring attention and prestige to their eventual winners. In starting these awards Doek is proud to join other literary traditions from Africa and around the world that recognise and reward their storytellers.
Bank Windhoek, the official sponsor of the literary awards, has always been a prominent and active supporter of Namibian art and artists. These literary awards are an important milestone in the country’s young democracy and it could not have been reached without Bank Windhoek’s generous support and continued commitment to Namibians and Namibia.
Each winning literary artist from the fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and visual arts categories is awarded NAD5000 in cash sponsored by Bank Windhoek.
The winners are also presented with a unique trophy commissioned from a Namibian artist.
All longlisted, shortlisted, and winning literary artists are provided with unique opportunities within their particular fields of creation. Such perquisites may include book prizes, further publication in select anthologies, offers of representation, appearances at literary festivals, participation in creative workshops, access to mentorship programs, exhibitions in local, national, and international galleries, and art residencies in Namibia and abroad.
More information about the rules governing the inaugural edition of the Bank Windhoek Doek Literary Awards can be found here.
Three judges are appointed from experienced members of the Namibian or international literary scene practising within the fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and visual art fields.
Two judges are appointed to select the shortlist and the winner of the fiction, nonfiction, and poetry categories. One judge is appointed for the visual arts.
AWARDS GALA DINNER
The winners will be announced at a special gala dinner hosted in November, 2021. More details about this event will be made available later.
- 01 July 2021: announcement of the judges and the commissioned artist.
- 02 August 2021: announcement of the Bank Windhoek Doek Literary Awards’ concept and design.
- 01 September 2021: announcement of the shortlists.
- November 2021: The Bank Windhoek Doek Literary Awards gala dinner (date and venue to be announced later).
Bank Windhoek Doek Literary Awards For Namibia • James Murua’s Literary Blog, 2021.
“Namibia has been a pretty quiet contributor to the body of work that is the African literary canon in the last half century. In the last few years, there have been moves to add to that contribution.”
Doek! Literary Magazine Announces Awards For Namibians • Brittle Paper, 2021.
“Namibia’s Bank Windhoek and Doek! Magazine have launched a new prize. The Bank Windhoek Doek Literary Awards honor the finest work by four Namibian contributors published in any issue of Doek!, in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and visual art.”