Nadine Gordimer, Nobel Prize Winner, Dies at Age 90
It's a sad day in the literary world. Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991, writer Nadine Gordimer, died Sunday night at age 90. According to a statement from her family, she died peacefully while at her home in Johannesburg with her two children. She will, of course, be sorely missed.
Gordimer was a long-time critic of the apartheid system in her native South Africa, and her works frequently explored love, hate, and friendship in the context of a society built around racial oppression. A prolific writer, Gordimer published 15 novels throughout her career along with hundreds of short stories and essays. She also collected and had published an anthology of poetry written by black South Africans living under apartheid. Many of her books were banned under the apartheid government.
As a consistently outspoken critic of apartheid, Gordimer was known almost much for her activism as for her literary works. She was a member of the African National Congress at a time when the organization was banned, and she editted Nelson Mandela's famous "I Am Not Afraid To Die" Speech that he read at his trial. Decades later, Gordimer was among the first people Mandela asked to see after being released from prison. Later in her life, she was also active in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Gordimer published her first novel in 1953, but it wasn't until 1974 when her novel The Conservationist won the Man Booker Prize that she began to receive international attention. Her Nobel Prize win in 1991, when the end of apartheid seemed to be in sight but was still far from certain, was highly celebrated both in South Africa and abroad.
Gordimer was a brilliant writer and fearless crusader who will clearly be missed by people all over the world.
Image: Wikimedia Commons