In their citations, Bare & Breaking (published by Modjaji in 2012) is described as ‘head and shoulders above the other works in terms of craft, pace, depth of content, and having a clearly established and robust aesthetic’. Schimke is praised for ‘the elegance and precision of [her] craft in a volume marked by ‘sensuousness’ and ‘unapologetically erotic and intimate’ content.
Two judges singled Bare & Breaking out for its ‘internal arc’ which takes us from love and unease through crisis and fury, to numbness, grief, and finally, redemption, where the poet clambers at last to a fragile place of safety. … Throughout, the writer bears in mind the reader, connecting her private pain to a more universal one as in the final poem ‘The Quiet Way Back’. …While carried forward by her story, we are ultimately included in a collective grief that defines us all as human.
This year’s judges were Beverly Rycroft, Liesl Jobson and Professor Geoffrey Haresnape. Judges of the Ingrid Jonker prize are unaware of one another’s identities until judging is complete.
Karin Schimke will receive her prize at a special event in Cape Town in October.
The Ingrid Jonker Prize is awarded in alternate years to the best debut collection in English or Afrikaans. The prize consists of a medal by the sculptor Bill Davis and the interest on an amount of money originally donated for this purpose by Ingrid Jonker’s friends at her ‘second funeral’ in 1965.