Silver award for Claremont writer

Toby Bennett reading from his book, The Music Box, at the prize giving

Toby Bennett, 43, from Claremont is the silver-award winner of the English category in the Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature 2019 which was held in Hyde Park in Johannesburg late last month.

The prize acknowledges original manuscripts aimed at teenagers to young adults.

There were also categories for Afrikaans and African languages, and Mr Bennett was one of six nominees in the English category.

He finished runner-up to Nerine Dorman, who won gold for her book, Sing Down the Stars. She won a cash prize of R 20 000, and Toby won a R10 000 cash prize for his book, The Music Box.

The book tells the story of a gifted boy, John, who goes on an adventure in a magical world, helped by a traveller he meets along the way.

“They are thrown together and hunted by those who wish to claim the magical power of the music box until they are forced to face John’s actual connection to this other world and he must make a choice that will have profound implications for himself and the community he lives in,” says Toby. “I think The Music Box’s darker themes may have a few twists for adult readers too.”

Toby say he is thrilled with his silver award.

“I’m blown away by the whole thing; I’ve been writing for a long time, and this really does feel like a milestone for me.”

The Music Box is available at Exclusive Books and online on Takealot.