Contemporary Perspectives on J.M. Coetzee and Post-Apartheid South African Literature:
An International Conference


29th & 30th April 2005, Royal Holloway, University of London
Now extended to two days due to wide international response

We are delighted to announce our plenary speakers:
Professor André Brink, Professor Derek Attridge, Professor Elleke Boehmer and Professor Rosemary Jolly

South Africa and its writers, past and present, have long established themselves in a compelling and forceful role in the wider scheme of world literature.

However, after years of censorship and silencing during apartheid, the collective South African voice is now heard more widely and clearly: inescapable, inevitable and unavoidable.

Previous authors who were silenced under apartheid can now be heard, novels banned for decades have been reissued and new fiction is being published to international acclaim.

J.M. Coetzee has been one of South Africa's significant authors, both during and after apartheid. The first writer to have won the prestigious Booker Prize twice, he has recently been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Coetzee's socially aware fiction has arguably been the voice most often heard from South African literature during apartheid in the West, both as a novelist and as an academic figure.

Ten years after the end of apartheid, it is essential to enter into a dialogue with these voices that we are only just being permitted to hear unchecked.

Even Coetzee, relatively rare as an uncensored writer in South Africa, is reaching us unimpeded, free from the hugely damaging, even if unfulfilled, threat of South African censorship. Coetzee, as a well established author, will benefit from being revisited and re-evaluated in light of the new South African context.

This conference will offer contemporary perspectives on recent South African literature from a selection of international contributors, including distinguished plenary speakers and a range of papers given by graduate students.While the focus of the conference will be on Coetzee and his writing, there will a selection of critical perspectives offered on his contemporaries, including fiction from South Africa during and after the end of apartheid.