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Elsa Joubert Receives 2013 Arts and Culture Trust Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature

Elsa Joubert

Alert! The Arts & Culture Trust, sponsored by Media24, has bestowed this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature on 91 year old author Elsa Joubert. Last year this award was won by Nadine Gordimer.

The Long Journey of Poppie NongenaDie Swerfjare van Poppie NongenaDie reise van Isobelle'n Wonderlike geweldReisiger

Joubert’s first book appeared in 1963, and since then she has won many awards for her work. Her best known book is probably Die swerfjare van Poppie Nongena, which in 1978 gave white Afrikaans South Africans an intimate look at the life of a black woman during apartheid. It was listed in 2002 as one of the 100 best books in Africa. The translation is titled The Long Journey of Poppie Nongena. Joubert’s remarkable life story about her travels through Africa, her political awakening and her writing career, is told in her own words in two literary memoirs, ‘n Wonderlike geweld and Reisiger.

On receiving the award, Joubert spoke about the importance of writing in one’s home language, but also highlighted how translation can bring readers together. “I am a writer in Afrikaans. The language of my heart liberates and shapes my thoughts and emotions … By translation the books become the common property of South African conversation. Through books we can unite South Africa.”

The Arts & Culture Trust named author Elsa Joubert as the 2013 winner of the ACT Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature, sponsored by Media24 Books.

Born Elsabé Antoinette Murray Joubert, the life’s work of the 91 year old writer has been acknowledged with honorary doctorates from the Universities of Stellenbosch (2001) and Pretoria (2007), the award of the Order of Ikhamanga (2004), and now also the ACT Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature.

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