Dr. Marlene van Niekerk
Honorary supervisor Prof. Dr. G.C.G.J. van Roermund - 2009 – Faculteit Wijsbegeerte
The South African writer Marlene van Niekerk (Caledon, 1954) studied philosophy and literature at Stellenbosch University. From 1980 to 1985, she continued her studies in philosophy in the Netherlands.
Once back in South Africa, she became a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Zululand, and later at the University of South Africa (Unisa). She then became a lecturer in Afrikaans and Dutch at the University of Witwatersrand.
She made her debut with Die vrou wat haar verkyker vergeet het (1992). For Triumph (1994), she received several prestigious awards, including the Noma Prize in 1995 for the best book on the African continent. Agate (2004) won, among others, the Hertzog Prize for Prose and the C.L. Engelbrecht Prize for Literature in 2007.
Marlene Van Niekerk's novels are set in border areas. On the edge of life and death, of reality and imagination. Three novels, Triomf, Agaat, and Memorandum have as a theme, how people in border areas have something to hold on to, to each other and others, to knowledge and language. With her description of human life at a micro level, Van Niekerk also questions larger political developments. Her work was discussed by four professors from different perspectives during the congress De klank van het fragiele (The sound of the fragile), which was dedicated to Van Niekerk, prior to her honorary doctorate.
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