Thursday, October 21, 2010

Know Your Laureate of African Origin Part IV - Nadine Gordimer

Nadine Gordimer
This week's Know Your Laureate of African Origin presents the only female Nobel of African Origin, Nadine Gordimer.

Nadine Gordimer was born on 20th November 1923 around Springs, Gauteng, an East Rand Mining town outside Johannesburg. Her parents, Isidore and Nan Gordimer, were Jewish Immigrants and it was them who shaped her earlier views and interests in racial and economic inequality in South Africa.

This views were spurred on by the arrest of her friend, Bettie du Toit, was arrested in 1960 and the Sharpeville Massacre. Being an active critic of the apartheid government of South Africa saw her works being censored. For instance, The Late Bourgeois World was banned in 1976 for a decade; A World of Strangers was banned for twelve years. Other works received lesser duration ban such as Burger's Daughter was banned for one month. July's People  was also banned under apartheid, and faced censorship under post-apartheid government as well: In 2001, a provincial education department temporarily removed this novel from the school reading list, along with works by other anti-apartheid writers.

Gordimer's first published work was a short story for children The Quest for Seen Gold, which appeared in the Children's Sunday Express in 1937, when she was 14 years old; Come Again Tomorrow, another children's story appeared in Forum around the same time. At 16, she had her first adult fiction published.

Gordimer has won many awards such as the Central News Agency (CNA) Literary award in 1974, 1975, 1980 and 1991. In 1974, she won the Booker Prize with The Conservationist. She holds at least 15 honorary degrees from several universities including Leuven University (Belgium), University of York (England), Cambridge University (England), universities of Cape Town and Witwatersrand (South Africa).

In 1991, she won the Nobel Laureate in Literature.

Gordimer has been active in the HIV/AIDS movement. In 2004, she organised about 20 major writers to contribute short fiction for Telling Tales, a fundraising book for South Africa's Treatment Action Campaign.

Bibliography
Novels:
  • The Lying Days (1953)
  • A World of Strangers (1958)
  • Occasion for Loving (1963)
  • The Late Bourgeois World (1966)
  • A Guest of Honour (1970)
  • The Conservationist (1974)
  • Burger's Daughter (1979)
  • July's People (1981)
  • A Sport of Nature (1987)
  • My Son's Story (1990)
  • None to Accompany Me (1994)
  • The House Gun (1998)
  • The Pickup (2001)
  • Get a Life (2005)
Short fiction collections
  • Face to Face (1949)
  • Town and Country Lovers
  • The Soft Voice of the Serpent (1952)
  • Six Feet of the Country (1956)
  • Friday's Footprint (1960)
  • Not for Publication (1965)
  • Livingstone's Comparisons (1970)
  • Selected Stories (1975)
  • No Place Like: Selected Stories (1978)
  • A Soldier's Embrace (1980)
  • Something Out There (1984)
  • Correspondence Course and other Stories (1984)
  • The Moment Before the Gun Went Off (1988)
  • One Upon a Time (1989)
  • Jump: And Other Stories (1991)
  • Why Haven't You Written: Selected Stories 1950-1972 (1992)
  • Something for the Time Being 1950-1972 (1992)
  • Loot: And other Stories (2003)
  • Beethoven was One-Sixteenth Black (2007)
Plays
  • The First Circle (1949) pub. in Six One-Act Plays
Essay Collections
  • The Essential Gesture: Writing, Politics and Places (1988)
  • The Black Interpreters (1973)
  • Writing and Being: The Charles Eliot Norton Lectures (1995)
Other Works
  • On the Mines (1973)
  • Lifetimes Under Apartheid (1986)
  • "Choosing for Justice: Allan Boesak" (1983) (documentary with Hugo Cassirer)
  • "Berlin and Johannesburg: The Wall and the Colour Bar" (documentary with Hugo Cassirer)
Edited Works
  • Telling Tales (2004)
  • Telling Times: Writing and Living, 1950-2008
Read about Gordimer here and there.

8 comments:

  1. Wow, that is incredible that she started publishing at such a young age. I have yet to read anything by her, though I have A Burger's Daughter on my tbr at the moment.

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  2. Yes Amy. Some start great and ends great. I have also not read any of her books and I have The Burger's Daughter and The Conservationist on my list of TBRs

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  3. This is one writer I am looking forward to read more of her books - only read July's People. Yes! She is indeed a great writer. I'm also impressed by her active campaign on Hiv/Aids.

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  4. @Geosi... and it hurt me most that I haven't read her yet. But I would

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  5. She's amazing! I can't wait to read more of her books.

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  6. @Marie... let's know what you think after you have read her. I haven't as yet, but definitely would.

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  7. I can't help saying that I love this writer. I have read 3 or four of her books and I loved them. "Burger's Daughter" left a mark on me. I hope you will have the chance to read it soon!

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  8. Accessibility being my only impediment, yet I shall overcome. I am glad you loved it. Burger's Daughter is on my reading list.

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