Writer J.M. Coetzee is awarded the 2003 Nobel Prize for Literature

Thursday, 2 October 2003

Born in South Africa in 1940, JM Coetzee has had a successful literary career. He is the only author ever to win the Booker prize twice, but the publicity-shy author avoided attending both ceremonies.

Long mentioned as a contender, he was named the 2003 Nobel laureate for Literature. According to permanent secretary of the Swedish Nobel Academy, Horace Endgahl, it was an easy decision to honour Coetzee: "We were very much convinced of the lasting value of his contribution to literature. ... I think he is a writer that will continue to be discussed and analyzed and we think should belong to our literary heritage". He further observed that Coetzee's novels are characterized by their well-crafted composition and analytical brilliance, containing stories which often criticize the cruel rationalism and cosmetic morality of western civilization. The Nobel Academy praised Coetzee for his intellectual honesty and for capturing man's divine spark in moments of defeat and weakness.

The only other South African to receive this award was Nadine Gordimer, in 1991.

 

Further Reading:

J. M. Coetzee - Biographical. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2003/coetzee-bio.html. [Accessed 19 February 2015].

South Africa's Nobel Prize-winner J.M. Coetzee – South African Tourism . [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.southafrica.net/za/en/articles/entry/article-j.m.-coetzee. [Accessed 19 February 2015].

References:
• Butcher, T, 2003. Nobel prize for chronicler of S Africa's woes. The Telegraph, 03 October[ONLINE] Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/southafrica/1443187/Nobel-prize-for-chronicler-of-S-Africas-woes.html [Accessed 19 February 2015]
• JM Coetzee, a biography. South African History Online [ONLINE]. Available at: sahistory.org.za

Last updated : 30-Sep-2016

This article was produced for South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011