South African writer J.M. Coetzee does not paint a rose-coloured picture of post-apartheid South Africa in his award-winning novel 'Disgrace', reflecting rather on the complexities of living in the so-called rainbow nation. It is this unflinching honesty that has made him one of South Africa's most important writers of modern times.
John Maxwell Coetzee was born and raised in Cape Town. His father was a part-time attorney and his mother a school teacher. He studied at the University of Cape Town and graduated in both English and Mathematics, also receiving a Ph.D. in linguistics at the University of Texas in Austin.
He later taught English literature at the University of Cape Town before moving to Australia, where he currently lives and teaches at the University of Adelaide as an honorary research fellow.
Because of J.M. Coetzee's extreme sense of privacy, it is almost impossible to find any details on his private life, or signed copies of his work, which make them highly sought after items.
Recognising this, the writer collaborated to establish the First Chapter Series by Oak Tree Press. A fundraising project for child victims of HIV/Aids, it features signed limited edition copies of works by renowned literary figures – including Coetzee's.
Nobel Prize-winner J.M.Coetzee is not only highly-regarded for his own novels and essays, but also as a translator of works from Dutch and Afrikaans in to English.