A celebration of literature and young South African talent

English Alive 50

For 50 years, high school learners across South Africa have contributed to the South African Council for English Education's annual anthology, English Alive.

Each year learners are encouraged to submit their written work for consideration for publication. It is not a writing competition in the sense that cheques or trophies are handed out for the best writing; rather, it is the fact of publication in the anthology that is the acknowledgement of quality writing by our youth.

This year, English Alive celebrates their 50th anniversary with a special anthology, English Alive 50, that pays tribute to the learners who have produced quality literature, from the very first publication in 1967.

Robin Malan, editor of English Alive, believes it is an extraordinary feat that an independent, unsubsidised journal devoted to high school writing should survive for 50 years, with not a single break in production. This commemorative anthology is a tribute to those young writers who have produced the work that has sustained 50 editions of this publication. 

The publication boasts an exciting selection of pieces that covers South Africa’s momentous years from 1967 to 2017 as seen through the eyes of its young adults.

English teachers will find this publication an inspiring addition to their literature basket in the classroom as it includes a spread of genres and styles of topical issues for learners to work through.

Tell your story, speak your truth

English Alive allows learners to showcase their talent and build confidence as writers. The publication is entirely made up of contributions from learners across South Africa, from the writing to the cover, as learners are also encouraged to submit artwork or photographs for the cover design. 

English Alive encourages learners to write in any genre and style they choose, whether it’s a poem; an essay or a short story, as long as it’s real, it matters and it reflects who the writer is.

Launching young writers

Many learners who submitted their works to English Alive have since become professional writers.

There are too many to mention but among the contributors you will recognise the poets Jeremy Cronin and Siphokazi Jonas, the prose-writer Henrietta Rose-Innes, the dramatists Nadia Davids and Amy Jephta, the novelist Shaun Johnson, to name but a few.

“If ever one needed evidence that young adults want to have their say and know exactly how to say it, this anthology is the answer: superb thinking and feeling and imagining, matched by enviable skill in writing in English. Please, enjoy. Be amazed. Be astonished. Be moved to tears, sometimes. Be proud of our young people.” Robin Malan


Get your free copy of English Alive 50

English Alive is a national project of the South African Council for English Education (SACEE). The publication has been sponsored by Pearson.

We have made a free eBook of English Alive 50 available for download to inspire learners, far and wide, to appreciate literature and encourage them to produce their own creative writing. 

Click here to learn more on how you or your learners can submit works to English Alive: www.sacee.org.za

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