SOAS University of London

About SOAS

Professor J.M. (John) Coetzee

J.M. (John) Coetzee.

J.M. Coetzee was born in South Africa in 1940 and educated at the University of Cape Town, where he studied literature and mathematics, and later at the University of Texas, where he took his PhD in 1968, writing his doctoral thesis on Samuel Beckett’s English prose.

During a lengthy academic career he held professorial appointments at the University of Cape Town and the University of Chicago, where he was for several years a member of the Committee on Social Thought, as well as visiting appointments at Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, and Stanford University.

He has published thirteen works of fiction, memoirs, literary criticism and translations, notably Waiting for the Barbarians, Age of Iron, Disgrace and Scenes from Provincial Life. A regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, his critical essays have been collected in three volumes: Doubling the Point, Stranger Shores and Inner Workings.

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Professor JM Coetzee, Honorary Doctorate, 2015 Graduation

Among the awards he has won are the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, The Irish Times International Fiction Prize, the Booker Prize (twice) and, in 2003, the Nobel Prize for Literature. In 2005, South Africa honoured him with their highest award, the Order of Mapungubwe (Gold), for his ‘exceptional contribution to literature’ and for ‘putting South Africa on the world stage’.

He has lived in South Australia since 2002, and is currently Professor of Literature at the University of Adelaide.