30 Jun 2016 - 11:45
Finuala Dowling at Herman Charles Bosman Literary Award Ceremony
Finuala Dowling at Herman Charles Bosman Literary Award Ceremony


EMS Staff member wins literary prize

The Herman Charles Bosman prize for English fiction went to Finuala Dowling for her novel The Fetch, published by Kwela. In their commendation, the judges lauded Dowling for “the strength of the writing, the subtlety and wit of the language, her descriptive powers and her skill at creating credible characters that are of real interest to us: complex, human, and quirky”.

In a review published by Die Burger, the book is praised for its “trenchant dialogue, spot-on descriptions of emotional and physical spaces, and ability to make her characters feel, each in turn, authentically South African and yet universal, making it one of the best fiction publications so far of 2015”.

The Business Day has described the book, as “warm and embracing, entertaining to a fault,… a novel that demonstrates the maturity of much South African fiction after apartheid. It is writing in which a smaller circle of beings, and a more exacting focus on core values, helps to render us a little more normal than we are accustomed to being, despite our eccentricities.

According to the Rapport, The Fetch is “a comedy with the undertone of rueful reality. Sometimes you laugh from your belly, smile in recognition or gasp at the writer’s insight. But nothing is described without love. The story is told over a number of years and studies the value systems of the different classes in South Africa, looks at the transitoriness of things and what they are replaced by. The story is a fetch – the length of a wave blown on by the wind before it begins to wash back. It shows how everything passes. Our life is like the flower of grass; a moment in the wind. What we thought would stand forever, changes…It is one of the books that, in years to come, will bear testimony to the maturity and intelligence of South African culture and literature.”