They are: Novel - Phidson Mojokeri, for Curse of a Dream (first prize); Khumo Ketlhwaafetse, for Scrap Yard (second); and Yamikani Patson, for Hang Him (third).
Short Story - Lauri Kubuitsile for Solar Heater; Tlotlego Gaogakwe, for A Wife for Lindile's Husband; and Wame Molefhe for Will It Ever Rain?
Poetry - Ita Mannathoko for Kgalagadi, the Great Thirst; John Hutcheson, for Sisal; and Peter Green, for Bessie Head.
The monetary prizes for the first-place winners are sponsored by Pentagon Publishers, Gaborone. They comprise P2,500 for best novel, P1,500 for best short story, and P1,000 for best poem or set of poems.
These awards will be presented to the first-place winners at a special prize-giving ceremony on Sunday at the Little Theatre in the National Museum in Gaborone. Second and third-position winners will receive certificates of distinction. The proceedings start from 2:30 to 5:00 pm and will include readings from the winning entries and other literary entertainment. The public is encouraged to attend; young writers and media professionals are especially welcome.
A spokesperson for the organisers said in a statement that the Bessie Head Heritage Trust is proud that this year's awards ceremony will form part of the National Heritage Festival that begins on Monday. The Trust believes that it is through literature, music, and all other forms of cultural imagination that both personal spirit and national identity are nurtured and strengthened.
The Bessie Head writing competition is offered annually by the Bessie Head Heritage Trust in concert with Pentagon Publishers. Each year's winning entries, and other entries of superior quality, will be published by Pentagon in its Bessie Head series. This series is devoted to new creative writing in English by Botswana authors.
The first Bessie Head writing prizes were awarded in July last year at the BessieFest celebration in Serowe. This event commemorated Bessie Head's 70th birthday. The 2007 winners were: Khonani Ontebetse, novel; Ms Bontekanye Botumile, short story; and Monty Fanikiso Moswela, poetry.
The Bessie Head Heritage Trust believes the creative writer must never fear to write. "In closing, we remind Batswana of Bessie Head's words in 1985, shortly before her death, when she answered the question: Why Do I Write? She stated:
"I write because I have authority from life to do so... I have built up a kind of people religion that is rooted in the African soil. My world opposes the world of politicians. They plan for and dictate to the people. In my world people plan for themselves and dictate their requirements to me. It is a world full of love, tenderness, happiness and laughter... I am building a stairway to the stars. I have the authority to take the whole of mankind up there with me. That is why I write," the spokesperson added.