J. M. Coetzee

From ArticleWorld

J.M. Coetzee is a celebrated South African writer. He is the recipient of many awards and now resides in Australia.


J.M. Coetzee was born John Maxwell Coetzee on February 9, 1940 in Cape Town, South Africa. He attended St. Joseph’s College, a Catholic school, and later the University of Cape Town where he studied mathematics and English.

In the 1960s, Coetzee lived in London and worked as a computer programmer for IBM. He later received his doctorate at the University of Texas in Austin, where he applied computerized stylistic analysis to the work of Irish writer Samuel Beckett for his research.

Until 1971 Coetzee taught English and literature at the University of Buffalo in New York. In 1971, Coetzee was denied permanent residence in the United States because of his involvement in anti-war demonstrations over Vietnam, so he returned to South Africa to teach English and literature at the University of Cape Town.

Coetzee retired in 2002 to Adelaide, Australia, where he made an honorary research fellow of English at the University of Adelaide. In 2003, he went on to become a professor of the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago.

Coetzee is the first author to receive the Book Prize twice, once in 1983 for Life & Times of Michael Kay and again in 1999 for Disgrace. He also received the Nobel Prize in literature in 2003.

Coetzee writing also includes essays on literary criticism and translated works from Dutch and Arikaans.

Partial list of writings

  • Dusklands (1974)
  • In the Heart of the Country (1977)
  • Waiting for the Barbarians (1980)
  • Life & Times of Michael Kay (1983)
  • Foe (1986)
  • White Writing: On the Culture of Letters in South Africa (1988)
  • Age of Iron (1990)
  • The Master of Petersburg (1994)
  • Giving Offense: Essays on Censorship (1997)
  • Boyhood (1998)
  • Disgrace (1999)
  • The Lives of Animals (1999)
  • Youth (2002)
  • Stranger Shoes (2002)
  • Slow Man (2005)