In a short interview in the May/August 2015 edition of World Literature Today, JM Coetzee recommends the works of Ivan Vladislavić, calling him “a writer of great sophistication”.
The interview is part of a series celebrating the Puterbaugh legacy, Coetzee having been the 2003 Puterbaugh Fellow.
Coetzee’s most recent book is The Good Story: Exchanges on Truth, Fiction and Psychotherapy, co-written with Arabella Kurtz.
As Coetzee states, Vladislavić has long been underappreciated outside South Africa. However, the landscape is beginning to change. Last year, Vladislavić had the audience “enraptured” at the Worlds Literature Festival in Norwich, England, and this year was awarded the 2015 Windham Campbell Prize for Fiction. His early novels are being released in Europe and North America, and his new collection of short stories, 101 Detectives, was published to critical acclaim this year. He is currently a Distinguished Professor at Wits University.
Long may the admiration continue.
- “I’m a Lucky Man”: Ivan Vladislavic on His Distinguished Professorship at Wits and Windham Campbell Prize
Read the short interview with Coetzee:
J. M. Coetzee
The 2003 Puterbaugh Fellow
South African novelist, essayist, and translator J. M. Coetzee (b. 1940) was twice nominated for the Neustadt International Prize for Literature before winning the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature (see WLT, January 2004). Additional awards include two Booker Prizes and many other honors. He is currently Professor of Literature at the University of Adelaide. His newest book is a forthcoming collection of letters, The Good Story: Exchanges on Truth, Fiction and Psychotherapy, with Arabella Kurtz.
What outside the realm of literature has drawn your attention of late?
Like many people in the non-Muslim world, I am trying to understand what it is about Islam that allows a certain sector of the Muslim community to feel that what they take to be insults to the Prophet have to be avenged, and avenged not just at a symbolic level but with physical violence. The topic of giving offense and taking offense has interested me for a long time (I published a book on the subject in the 1990s), but the outraged and offended mind-set remains largely closed to me.
What current writing projects do you have underway or on the horizon? [preferred not to answer]
Is there a South African writer who deserves to be better known on the world stage?
The writer Ivan Vladislavic (born 1957) has been largely unknown outside South Africa, though just recently that picture has begun to change. Vladislavic is a writer of great sophistication who specializes in short fiction (“stories”).
Editorial note: Vladislavic was recently chosen as one of the winners of the 2015 Windham Campbell Prizes.
- 101 Detectives by Ivan Vladislavic
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