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10 minutes with South African writer, Marlene van Niekerk

Posted on 22/09/2014
By Commonwealth Foundation
“I think I’m that kind of writer who’s always looking for trouble: I think a little bit intense and a little risky and a little bit interested in making accidents happen that I can use. I think it’s more interesting to write things that you don’t know than that you know.”
Marlene van Niekerk

Marlene van NiekerkMarlene is a South African poet, critic, novelist and dramatist. After stints in Mainz, Stuttgart and Amsterdam, she returned to South Africa where she is a professor of philosophy and literature.
In 2013, Marlene’s controversial poem, Mud School, about the provision of schools in South Africa, provoked an angry response from the country’s government.
Her work includes three collections of poetry, two collections of short stories and three novels. Her fiction has been translated widely.
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AgaatMarlene Van Niekerk, Agaat (2008) – a Sunday Times Literary Prize and Herzog Prize winner, the novel explores the relationship between a servant and her mistress. Michael Heyns’ English translation was published in 2004 under the title The Way of the Women.
Poetry International Foundationin addition to several of Marlene van Niekerk’s poems in English and Dutch, this online archive provides bibliographical detail about the South African writer.
Two poems by Marlene van Niekerk – read Poets of Our Fatherland Unite and Poem For President Motlanthe, translated into English by the author.
Marlene van Niekerk at the 2010 PEN World Voices Festivalin conversation with Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison, moderated by K. Anthony Appiah.

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