Did you know?
South Africa's best-selling author is Wilbur Smith.
South African literature is rich, diverse and increasingly robust with writers receiving acclaim for works of science fiction, magical realism, crime writing, comedy, social realism, reportage and cultural commentary.
One of South Africa’s first writers to receive international recognition is Olive Schreiner. Her semi-autobiographical novel Story of an African Farm was published in 1883. Schreiner was a passionate advocate of feminism, pacifism and free thought.
Laurens van der Post, born in the Free State in 1906, is another famous early South African writer. His works include Venture into the Interior, Flamingo Feather and The Lost World of the Kalahari, in which he documented aspects of San culture.
Cattle rancher Stuart Cloete found success as a writer with Turning Wheels, a novel of the Great Trek and his other books on African themes were The Soldier's Peaches and The African Giant.
Poet Roy Campbell, known for South African literary works such as The Flaming Terrapin, The Wayzgoose and Flowering Rifle is another significant South African literary figure, while Athol Fugard is among South Africa’s greatest dramatists.
Sol Plaatjie was a pioneering black writer whose works such as Native Life and Mhudi have become classics. He is also known for his translations of Shakespeare into Tswana.
Two South African writers have won the Nobel Prize for Literature, Nadine Gordimer (1991) and J M Coetzee (2003). Gordimer also won the Booker Prize, while Coetzee was the first writer to win the Booker Prize twice.
Among our contemporary literary stars, you will find André Brink, Achmat Dangor, Damon Galgut, Zakes Mda, Njabulo Ndebele, Marlene van Niekerk and Zoë Wicomb. Younger writers like Imraan Coovadia, Kopano Matlwa and Niq Mhlongo are increasingly popular and several significant Afrikaans authors like Eben Venter, Ingrid Winterbach and Etienne van Heerden are available in English translation.
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