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Novel Idea

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Novel Idea: The winner is…

Sam Wilson

Sam Wilson is South Africa’s first award-winning mobilist with a clear majority: 38.5% of the readers’ votes. Sam’s story “Prestige Animals” is a rollicking comedy adventure involving an animal smuggler, his reprobate brother, an angry badger and a crocodile-coveting drug lord. Packed with gags and cliffhangers, it kept Novel Idea readers hooked to their phones for their daily updates. Sam Wilson wins R8000, sponsored by Vodacom. Congratulations Sam!

“It was one of the most enjoyable writing challenges I can think of,” said Sam, “being asked to make a story that had to be unrelentingly entertaining.” Sam added, “All the stories were wonderful, and as snappy as you’d expect from such great writers.”

Here is a clip of just how Sam reacted when he was told the news:


Video: Sam Wilson’s Happy Dance
YouTube Preview Image


The runner-up position was shared between “Ghost Girl” by Lauren Beukes, “Winona Forever” by Sarah Lotz and “City Fun” by Stephen Simm. They share R2000, from our sponsors Vodacom.

The stories are now available in full through Novel Idea (until the end of September 2008). To register, SMS the word NOVEL to 33879, follow the link to the WAP site, click on ‘new users register here’ and send through your cellphone number.

This Novel Idea pilot, which launched on 7 July 2008, has been groundbreaking in so many ways: it’s the first time short fiction has been specifically commissioned for delivery via mobile phones (as far as we’re aware, worldwide), it’s been a unique way to promote edgy professional South African writers (all originally published in print or as screenwriters) and it’s the first time original Afrikaans content has been published on mobile. The winning story was determined entirely by public vote, highlighting the interactivity and openness of the cellphone platform.

Literature and cellphones will keep mashing as mobile becomes more and more popular as an entertainment platform. Just a couple of weeks ago, Nielson announced that their recent research had shown that the mobile internet had reached “critical mass” this year (

And… We’ll be launching round 2 of Novel Idea before the end of the year. The line-up of exciting local authors will be announced shortly.


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Lauren Beukes</a>
    Lauren Beukes
    August 15th, 2008 @10:58 #

    Congratulations to Sam! I loved his devilish, fast-paced and fun, fun, fun tale (can we call it poacher noir?) that worked perfectly with the medium. Cliffhangers galore, cool storytelling and unpredictably twisty. And it's fantastic that he's the only unpublished novelist (as yet) among the contributors.

    Also congrats to Michelle, despite the technical glitches endemic to any novel technology (that'll teach ya to be pioneering).

    It was really awesome to be involved and headlined with the likes of Richard, Sarah, Robyn, Henrietta, Diane, Stephen, Francois and Zukiswa.

    I kinda miss the "beep-beep" that heralded the arrival of my incoming daily fix. Looking forward to round 2.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    August 15th, 2008 @11:18 #

    Congratulations, Sam! I hope I get a chance to read all of these stories at some future date.
    It has indeed been an honour to work alongside you all.
    And many thanks to Michelle and the team for all their hard work on the project. Hopefully, it will go on to find an even broader audience.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Sarah Lotz</a>
    Sarah Lotz
    August 15th, 2008 @11:42 #

    Brilliant, Sam - you really deserved to win, your story was hilarious, sharply written and perfect for the medium. And I second Lauren and Richard's comments - wow - was an incredible experience to be included with such amazing writers.
    And again, massive thanks, admiration and kudos to Michelle for her unstinting enthusiam and for having the vision to get this off the ground.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Marion</a>
    August 15th, 2008 @12:20 #

    Congrats Sam! Wow guys, is there any way expats could enjoy all these novels on our cellphones too? I mean a regular SMS costs the same. I'm so curious about the story now.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Henrietta</a>
    August 15th, 2008 @14:41 #

    Big congrats to Sam - wonderful story, well-deserved win - and to everybody else too for their great contributions. it was a blast.

  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    August 15th, 2008 @18:42 #

    We've found a video of "Wombat Sam" doing his happy dance. See above and enjoy!

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Michelle</a>
    August 16th, 2008 @11:02 #

    wh00t wh00t! *bump'n'grind ass-wiggle* "Go Sammy, Go Sammy! huh huh huh"

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">wombatsamwilson</a>
    August 18th, 2008 @10:25 #

    Thank you so much to everyone! It was really flattering to write with such great authors (who I'm humbled by and a bit scared of). I loved all the stories, and I'm eagerly awaiting the chance to read the next round. And thank you to Michelle and the Novel Idea team for all their hard work, publicity and mysterious technical jiggery-pokery. Thank you!


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