Favourite South African authors
Did you know?
South African author Wilbur Smith has written more than 30 novels.
The country's mix of different cultures and languages is reflected in the literature of South Africa. Authors have produced a body of work that is a kaleidoscopic blend of complex, multi-culturalism that tells fascinating stories about South Africa's past and present.
Two top South African authors, Nadine Gordimer and JM Coetzee, have won the highest international acclaim, the Nobel Prize for Literature. Some of Gordimer's best known work includes The Conservationist and Burger's Daughter. Among Coetzee's best known works are Waiting for the Barbarians, Life and Times of Michael K and Disgrace. Gordimer also won the Booker Prize, while Coetzee was the first writer to win the Booker Prize twice.
The novelist, playwright, critic and academic Andre P Brink has also won many awards, and his work has been translated into 26 languages. One of his best known novels is Dry White Season, dealing with a death in detention in South Africa. Zakes Mda is one of South Africa's best know post-apartheid writers, with novels such as The Heart of Redness and Ways of Dying. Poets and writers Mongane Wally Serote and Antjie Krog, along with playwrights Mike van Graan and Athol Fugard also have a wide following.
Another of South Africa's favorite authors, judging by the number of books he has sold, is Wilbur Smith whose fist blockbuster novel When The Lion Feeds has been followed by dozens more. Assegai, published in 2009, topped the SA best-seller list within two days of publication. It also reached number one on the UK Sunday Times best-seller list, topped the Argentinian, Australian, Canadian and Italian best-seller lists and, featured on the New York Times best-seller list.
Some of South Africa's literary pioneers include Olive Schreiner, activist and feminist, with Story of an African Farm, and Alan Paton whose book Cry the Beloved Country is still the country's most famous novel. Also famed are Percy Fitzpatrick's Jock of the Bushveld and the works of Herman Charles Bosman.
Travel tips & Planning info
How to get here
You will find bookshops carrying a comprehensive range of South African titles in all the major centres, and many have online ordering facilities.
What will it cost
Novels in South Africa cost between R100 and R250.
The websites of major book stores advertise book signings, launches and lectures by well-known authors.
Pick up a copy of Nelson Mandela's autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom.