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Chris Barnard
K. Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award
 English
The career of Chris Barnard, a giant in Afrikaans literature, spans over 49 years – from winning the coveted CNA Prize for his first novel at the age of 21, to his latest volume of acclaimed short stories in 2008 and the publication of Bundu, a translation of his famous novel in 2010.Chris Barnard has published 30 books in all the prose genres: novels, novellas, short stories, youth novels, stage and radio plays as well as TV and film screenplays. Of late he has written several song lyrics that were recorded by first-rate singers. His novels, youth novels, short prose, dramas and film scripts have been – and still are – prescribed for generations of school and university students.His works have become classics in the Afrikaans literary canon: novels like Mahala (1971) and Moerland (1992), short story collections such as Duiwel-in-die-bos (1968), youth novels like Danda (1971) and Voetpad na Vergelegen (1987) and dramas like Pa, maak vir my ’n vlieër, Pa (1964), Die rebellie van Lafras Verwey (1971) and Taraboemdery (1977). The latter, first directed by André Brink, was recently restaged, and his latest drama, Die twaalfuurwals (2008), was a box office hit. He wrote the screenplay for Paljas, the first South African film to be nominated for an Oscar (directed by his wife, Katinka Heyns, and produced by Anant Singh).

Chris Barnard has received an astounding array of literary awards, eighteen in total, across all the genres in which he works. These include all the most prestigious awards available to authors writing in Afrikaans, such as the CNA prize (three times) and the Hertzog Prize (twice). He is without a doubt one of the most decorated Afrikaans writers of all time.

Barnard was never an overtly political writer, but owing to his dedication to the craft of storytelling, he once said, “you cannot miss the politics” (“jy kan nie die politiek misskryf nie”). Writing about common people in their variable states of brittle happiness, voicelessness or longing, he sees injury, whether personal or political, as universal to the human condition. Known to his peers, editors and readers as an incomparable craftsman, he has distinguished himself with writing of remarkable economy and apparent simplicity that amply rewards closer reading. Together with André Brink and Breyten Breytenbach, he is one of the remaining Sestigers, writers who burst onto the scene in the sixties and who dramatically shifted the narrow boundaries of style and content that existed before them.

Chris Barnard was born on 15 July 1939 on a farm near Nelspruit, where he also grew up. He published his first novel while studying at the University of Pretoria, after which he started working as a journalist. He left for Paris, where intellectuals and artists from across the world met to discover new possibilities for their work. He returned to a position as a book editor in Johannesburg, publishing the likes of Breytenbach and Brink. The stifling censorship of the time caused him to return to journalism. After marrying filmmaker Katinka Heyns, he became involved in writing and producing for television and film. A decade ago he returned to Nelspruit to farm, as his father has.

Afrikaans
Chris Barnard, reus van die Afrikaanse letterkunde, se skrywersloopbaan span oor 49 jaar, van die sy eerste roman toe hy 21 jaar oud was en waarvoor hy die CNA-prys ontvang het, tot met sy jongste, universeel geprese bundel kort vertellings in 2008 en die publikasie van Bundu, ’n vertaling van sy bekende roman in 2010.
Barnard het 30 boeke gepubliseer, in al die prosa-genres: romans en novelles, kortverhale, jegromans en dramas vir die verhoog, die radio, televisie en vir film. Onlangs het hy begin om lirieke te skryf wat opgeneem is deur van die voorste Afrikaanse sangers. Sy romans, kortverhale, jeugverhale, dramas en draaiboeke is vir geslagte skoolleerders en universiteitstudente voorgeskryf, en word steeds voorgeskryf.
Sy werke het klassieke status in die Afrikaanse kanon: romans soos Mahala (1971) en Moerland (1992), kortverhaalbundels soos Duiwel-in-die-bos (1968), jeugromans soos Danda (1971) en Voetpad na Vergelegen (1987) en dramas soos Pa, maak vir my ’n vlieër, Pa (1964), Die rebellie van Lafras Verwey (1971) en Taraboemdery (1977). Laasgenoemde, wat die eerste keer onder die regie van André Brink opgevoer is, was onlangs weer op die verhoog, en sy jongste drama, Die twaalfuurwals (2008), was ’n lokettreffer. Barnard is ook die skrywer van die draaiboek vir Paljas, die eerste Suid-Afrikaanse film wat vir ’n Oscar genomineer is (onder regie van sy vrou, Katinka Heyns, en vervaardig deur Anant Singh).

Chris Barnard het ’n indrukwekkende versameling bekronings ontvang, agtien altesaam, vir werke van al die genres waarin hy skryf. Dit sluit in feitlik al die hoogaangeskrewe pryse wat aan ’n Afrikaanse skrywer toegeken kan word, onder meer die CNA-prys drie keer en die Hertzogprys twee keer. Hy is sonder twyfel een van die mees bekroonde skrywers in Afrikaans.

Hy was nooit ’n openlik politieke skrywer nie, maar trou aan die vakmanskap van die vertelkuns, het hy eenkeer gesê: as jy die waarheid skryf, kan jy nie die politiek misskryf nie. Wanneer hy dus skryf oor gewone mense in hul verskillende toestande van broos geluk, stemloosheid of verlange, sien hy verwonding – of dit nou persoonlik of politiek is – as universeel aan die menslike kondisie.

Hy is bekend onder sy portuurs, redakteurs en lesers as ’n uitnemende vakman en het hom onderskei met skryfwerk van besondere ekonomie en oënskynlike eenvoud wat die fyn leser daarvan ryklik beloon. Saam met figure soos André P. Brink, Breyten Breytenbach en Dolf van Niekerk tel hy onder die oorblywende Sestigers, ’n losse versameling skrywers wat in die jare sestig op die toneel gekom en die grense van verlammende gemoedelikheid en versmorende engtes van die letterkunde van hul tyd dramaties versit het.

Chris Barnard is op 15 Julie 1939 gebore op ’n plaas buite Nelspruit. Sy eerste roman is gepubliseer toe hy ’n Tukkie-student was. Hy het as joernalis gaan werk, uitgewyk na Parys, destydse wêreldmekka van vernuwende kunstenaars en skrywers, en teruggekeer om boekeredakteur te word. Hy is later terug na die joernalistiek, maar sy huwelik met die filmmaker Katinka Heyns het hom as skrywer en vervaardiger diep betrokke gemaak by die televisie- en filmbedryf. ’n Dekade gelede het hy teruggekeer na die Laeveld waar hy, soos sy vader, in die Nelspruit-distrik boer.

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