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Stones Against the Mirror by Hugh Lewin Wins the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award

Stones Against the MirrorHugh Lewin was awarded the country’s foremost book prize for non-fiction, the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award, on Thursday night for his book Stones against the Mirror, published by Umuzi.

Lewin’s book is a brave and affecting account which is both a family history and a story of friendship and betrayal between people caught up in the Struggle.

Lewin was incarcerated for seven years after being found guilty for sabotage activities against the apartheid state. Stones against the Mirror is organised as a journey from Park station, the site of the 1964 station bomb planted by John Harris, to York station, and towards a meeting with Lewin’s friend, Adrian Leftwich, the man who betrayed him to the Security Police. After 40 years, Lewin is determined to meet Leftwich to find out what happened at his trial and to deal with the anger and bitterness that have assailed him ever since.

Nadine Gordimer calls this memoir by the author of the acclaimed Bandiet out of Jail, which won the 2003 Olive Schreiner Prize, unforgettable and invaluable in facing present and future ambiguities in South Africa.

Lewin worked for the Natal Witness, Drum and Golden City Post. After serving the full term of his sentence for sabotage, he left South Africa on a “permanent departure permit” in December 1971. Ten years in exile in London were followed by ten years in Zimbabwe. He returned to South Africa in 1992 and became director of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism in Johannesburg.

Fourie Botha, Managing Editor of Umuzi, says: “We are thrilled that Hugh’s moving and important book is being recognised in this way. Stones against the Mirror is remarkable in every sense and essential reading for its deep humanity and exceptional writing.”

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