Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Gordimer wrote of South African apartheid

Nadine Gordimer
It is the birthday of South African writer and activist Nadine Gordimer (1923), who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991 for her writing on racial and moral issues, especially apartheid in South Africa. Several of Gordimer's books have been banned at various times in her home country. Among them are A World of Strangers (1958), The Late Bourgeois World (1976), Burger's Daughter (1979), and July's People (1981).

Gordimer's first published novel, The Lying Days (1953), tells the story of a young white woman who gradually becomes aware of South African racial divides as she grows up in a small town. Occasion for Loving (1963) had a white woman married to an ethnomusicologist but falling in love with a black artist during a time when mixed relationships were illegal in South Africa.

 In A World of Strangers, a young English publisher whose parents are politically liberal remains apolitical as he moves between friends in the wealthy white suburbs and seething black townships. The Late Bourgeois World deals with a white woman's life on the edge of political action when her ex-husband kills himself after betraying fellow resistance workers under police pressure.

Burger's Daughter tells the story of a white South African woman dealing with the legacy of her father, who was an anti-apartheid activist with the South African Communist Party. July's People follows the life of July, a black servant to a liberal white South African family, during a fictional civil war in which black South Africans violently fight apartheid.

Gordimer's A Guest of Honor (1970) won the British James Tait Black Memorial Award and the Booker Prize. It deals with a black African who becomes president of his country through revolution and must now attend to affairs of state while those who helped him into power still seek revolution.

Gordimer has written 15 novels, a play, numerous short stories, and articles for various magazines. 

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