Nadine Gordimer

By: Caroline Brodeur

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Nadine Gordimer was born on November 20, 1923 in South Africa. She grew up in a privileged middle class family and showed an interest for writing at a very young age. By the time she was 15, she had published her first short story in a magazine. Gordimer attended the University of Witwatersrand where she continued her passion for writing. Her first book was published in 1949 , called Face to Face, and it consisted of a collection of short stories. In 1974, she wrote a book called The Conservationist, earning her the Booker Prize. Gordimer's books included themes surrounding apartheid, including No Time like the Present and The Lying Days. After writing several more books and short stories, Gordimer lectured and continued to write at various universities through the 70s. She received the Nobel Prize in 1991 and in 2007, Gordimer was awarded the French Legion of Honour.


Gordimer started writing short stories at a young age but did not discuss the topic of apartheid until 1948 when the nationalists rose to power and started interfering with Gordimer's everyday life. She inflicted a terrifying image of South Africa through her books that created international awareness for the effects of this system of segregation. Out of about 24 published books, 3 of them were banned in South Africa during apartheid, revealing the nature of these books.

Gordimer, when asked what her proudest moment was, answered that it was when she testified at the Delmas trial, saving 22 members of the ANC from accusations of treason. She became so well known for her anti apartheid support that when Mandela was finally freed, she was one of the first people he wished to see.

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Works Cited

"Nadine Gordimer and the South African Experience." Nadine Gordimer and the South African Experience. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.

"Nadine Gordimer | South African Author." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.

"Nadine Gordimer 2009, Nobel Prize for Literature - Podcast Center - Academy of Achievement." Nadine Gordimer 2009, Nobel Prize for Literature - Podcast Center - Academy of Achievement. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.

Verongos, Helen. "Nadine Gordimer, Novelist Who Took On Apartheid, Is Dead at 90." The New York Times. The New York Times, 14 July 2014. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.