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Coetzee (1)

Happy Birthday to J. M. Coetzee!

One of Africa’s most celebrated authors is 75 years old today.

Coetzee has won the Booker Prize twice—one for Life & Times of Michael K and a second for Disgrace. In 2003, he officially became a literary A-lister with his Nobel Prize win.

The really cool thing about Coetzee is that he was already a successful literary scholar before he hit it big time with his Booker Prize wins. He also became a full professor of literature before the nobel prize win came along.

Many writers would die for that kind of success. It is often the case that literary scholars make bad novelists in the same way that novelists are known for being half-baked literary scholars. But Coetzee seems effortlessly amazing at both.

There’s a bit of “The Strange Artist” about him though. At a time when African writers are embracing their newfound celebrity status, Coetzee lives the life of a recluse. The two times he won the Booker Prize, he bailed on the ceremony and had someone else pick up the awards.

Weird much?

There’re rumors that he hardly ever laughs. Someone claims to have been at several dinner parties where Coetzee did uttered not a single word. Apparently, he’s a militant vegetarian. Of course, this is all hearsay and literary gossip. Don’t quote us! Lol.

But like a typical globetrotting African, Coetzee has two citizenship–South African and Australian. He lives in Adelaide with his partner.

Wishing him joy, good health, and many more years of writing!

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Post image via Forlagsliv

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Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

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