A list of Nadine Gordimer‘s numerous international awards reveals her to be one of the most celebrated of the world’s writers in English: the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, 1973, for A Guest of Honour; the Booker Prize for Fiction, 1974, for The Conservationist; the Commonwealth Award for Distinguished Service in Literature, 1981; the Modern Language Association of America award, 1982; the Premio Malparte, 1985; her naming as an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, 1986; and her receipt of honorary degrees from both Harvard and Yale universities.
Gordimer received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991, “through her magnificent epic writing has—in the words of Alfred Nobel—been of very great benefit to humanity.”
Gordimer published her first story at the age of fifteen, and since then she has written more than six novels and a dozen story collections. She has also contributed stories to anthologies worldwide. Born in Springs, South Africa, to Jewish emigrants from London, Gordimer has said she attained political awareness slowly, eventually condemning the country’s race laws she had been raised to accept. She is now widely considered to be one of the strongest voices of social conscience in South Africa.
According to New York Times reviewer Michiko Kakutani, Gordimer’s “enduring subject” is “the consequences of apartheid on the daily lives of men and women, the distortions it produces in relationships among both blacks and whites.”