English Alive

An annual anthology of writing by South African high school students

English Alive is an annual anthology of writing from high schools and secondary colleges in southern Africa (i.e. Grades 8–12).

The first edition of English Alive was published in 1967, and it has been published every year since then.

Approximately 70 pieces of poetry and prose of all sorts and about anything are selected for publication each year.  Brief comments on the pieces are offered by the editor.

English Alive is not a competition: there are no cups or prizes handed out for ‘the best’ pieces of writing. Publication is the acknowledgement of writing of quality.

A last cautionary note. Plagiarism is theft, theft of someone else’s words and ideas. No one would want to be guilty of that. Original thinking and original writing are so much more worthwhile!

Where can I get further information about English Alive?

If you have any further questions:
E-mail the editor at editor@englishalive.org.za.

How do I order a copy?

Click here order a copy of English Alive or send an email to orders@englishalive.org.za.

How do I submit to English Alive?

Publication is usually around mid-August each year.

We also invite students to submit artwork for consideration for the cover. Send this by email as a high-resolution 300 dpi jpg to editor@englishalive.org.za.

How should I present my work?

Who has been published in English Alive?

Too many to mention individually! Many students who submitted to English Alive have since become professional published writers, e.g. the poet Jeremy Cronin, the prose-writer Henrietta Rose-Innes, the dramatist Nadia Davids, the novelist Shaun Johnson, etc.


27 April 2024 Freedom Day Iziko ~ (L-R) Jasantha Singh, Khomotso Ntando Mamashela, Nthando Douglas Shabangu.


            Freedom Day 2024

This Freedom Day, 3 learners published in English Alive 2023 were invited by Iziko Museum to their celebrations.

Nthando Douglas Shabangu (Claremont High School) bravely shared her life-changing journey from children’s home to adoption in ‘A New life, A New Beginning’. Khomotso Mamashela a fellow learner, (presenting in August) interactively engaged with her peers around the ‘Freedom of Choice’ and voting for the first time. Joining online from Midstream College, Pretoria was Lin-Mari Rudolph who closed the program with her uplifting dreams for a future South Africa in ‘We Could’.




Africa Day 2024 

Lily Callaghan (Great Westerford High School)

Leeyah Essa (ex-learner from St. Teresa’s)

To celebrate Africa Day on 25th May, Lily Callaghan (Great Westerford High School) took time out from her matric exams to share ‘Blinded by colour’.

Leeyah Essa (ex-learner from St. Teresa’s) nostalgically shared her heartwarming ‘An ode to African baobabs’ online. Both learners were published in English Alive 2022.

Learners selected to present at Iziko’s commemorative day events receive communication and presentation skills coaching from English Alive’s Jasantha Singh. An alumni Coach from The College of Applied Psychology. Who is also the liaison between the participating schools, Iziko Museum and English Alive.


The launch of English Alive 2023

Robin Malan (co-editor) Sindiwe Magona (guest speaker) and Twanji Kalula (Editor)

The 2023 edition of English Alive was the 57th anthology, produced annually without a break in production. The 2023 issue was published in August. 

Soliciting submissions 

There has seen an uptick in overall submissions, in line with better in- person school attendance this year and engagement with teachers. As a priority, we have reconnected with many schools. We expect this to improve. We have also received a record number of art submissions for the cover this year as a result of building a visual arts database.

Mr Robin Malan

We have continued our ‘At Any Time’ campaign to encourage learners and teachers to submit throughout the year and avoid a rush in May. As a result, we received submissions at a steady pace. Our official closing date for submissions remained 1 April, with late entries accepted until 1 May.


Once the editorial team has reviewed all the pieces, a shortlist emerges; from those pieces, through discussion and consultation (where necessary), the final published selection of 60-70 pieces is drawn. All work is read and assessed anonymously.

Students whose work was published in the 2023 edition of English Alive


This year’s edition was published in August. We launched the 2023 edition at Pineland High School and think that it is important to launch the anthology at schools.

Copies of English Alive can be ordered online or via email: orders@englishalive.org.za.
For press coverage, please click here.