Category      : Lifetime Achievement Literary Award

Author           : Etienne van Heerden

Publications : Body of work

Etienne van Heerden is one of the most highly regarded modern Afrikaans novelists. He has published 10 widely acclaimed novels, as well as a considerable body of academic work. His creative texts have been translated into 12 languages.  He has won all the major South African literary awards, some of them more than once. Van Heerden is seen as one of a generation of Afrikaans writers who contributed significantly to open up the Afrikaner psyche to change. In all his narratives South African society is depicted as a whole.  Most of his major works display features of magical realism – an art form which is most suitable to write about South African society and history because it tries to convey reality in a nuanced way, by depicting different layers of realism, time frames and worldviews at once. Van Heerdens contribution to South African literature can best be summarised by the following 2 quotes:

“Van Heerden’s rich prose and nuanced explorations of race, greed, passion and the history of South Africa elevate the novel into the realm of lasting literature” (San Francisco Chronicle on Die Swye van Mario Salviati)

“Etienne van Heerden is the brightest light in the firmament of younger Afrikaans writers and his exploration of personal relations and private lives under the pressure of historical and political forces makes him an eloquent witness of this moment of profound social change in the country” (The late André P. Brink)