J M Coetzee
John Maxwell Coetzee was born in Cape Town, South
Africa on 9th February, 1940. His father was a Government Servant and
a part time lawyer and his mother was a school teacher. Coetzee spent
his childhood in Cape Town and Worcester of Cape province. After
passing out from St. Joseph's College in Cape Town, he joined
University of Cape Town where he did his graduation in English as well
as Mathematics, two seemingly uncorelated subjects in 1960 and 1961
respectively. In 1962, he moved to England where he worked as a
computer programmer in various companies including IBM and
simultaneously pursued and completed his Master's Degree in English
Literature from University of Cape Town based on his dissertation on
the literary works of Ford Madox Ford.
In 1965, Coetzee moved to USA and joined as a
FullBright Scholar, the University of Texas at Austin and did PhD in
Linguistics in 1969. He was then in a teaching assignment in State
University of New York at Buffalo where he earned accolades for his
brilliance. He tried to get US Citizenship but the same was rejected
because of his involvement in the past in a Anti-Vietnam War protest.
In 1971, he was back in South Africa and joined as a faculty of
English Literature in University of Cape Town where he taught till
2002 . After retirement, he migrated to Australia and settled in
Adelaide and became an Australian Citizen.
Coetzee was the first writer to be awarded the Booker Prize twice:
first for Life & Times of Michael K in 1983, and again for
Disgrace in 1999.Three others have since managed this — Peter
Carey (1988 and 2001), J. G. Farrell (1973 and posthumously in 2010)
and Hilary Mantel (2009 and 2012).
Coetzee was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature,2003. The Nobel
Committee cited his "well-crafted composition, pregnant dialogue and
analytical brilliance," while focusing on the moral nature of his
work. He was the fifth African writer to be so honoured,
and the second South African after Nadine Gordimer. When awarding the
prize, the Swedish Academy stated that Coetzee "in innumerable guises
portrays the surprising involvement of the outsider".
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