John Maxwell "J. M." Coetzee (born 9 February 1940) is a South African novelist, essayist, linguist, translator and recipient of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature. In 2013, Richard Poplak of the Daily Maverick described Coetzee as "inarguably the most celebrated and decorated living English-language author". Before receiving the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature, Coetzee was
J. M. Coetzee
John Maxwell "J. M." Coetzee (born 9 February 1940) is a South African novelist, essayist, linguist, translator and recipient of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature. In 2013, Richard Poplak of the Daily Maverick described Coetzee as "inarguably the most celebrated and decorated living English-language author". Before receiving the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature, Coetzee was awarded the Jerusalem Prize, CNA Prize (thrice), the Prix Femina Étranger, The Irish Times International Fiction Prize and the Booker Prize (twice), among other accolades. John Maxwell Coetzee was born in Cape Town, South Africa, on 9 February 1940, the elder of two children. Though Coetzee's parents were not of British descent, the language spoken at home was English. Coetzee entered the University of Cape Town in 1957, and in 1960 and 1961 graduated successively with honours degrees in English and mathematics. He spent the years 1962–65 in England, working as a computer programmer while doing research for a thesis on the English novelist Ford Madox Ford. In 1965 Coetzee entered the graduate school of the University of Texas at Austin, and in 1968 graduated with a PhD in English, linguistics, and Germanic languages. His doctoral dissertation was on the early fiction of Samuel Beckett. For three years (1968–71) Coetzee was assistant professor of English at the State University of New York in Buffalo. After an application for permanent residence in the United States was denied, he returned to South Africa. From 1972 until 2000 he held a series of positions at the University of Cape Town, the last of them as Distinguished Professor of Literature. Coetzee began writing fiction in 1969. His first book, Dusklands, was published in South Africa in 1974. In the Heart of the Country (1977) won South Africa's then principal literary award, the CNA Prize, and was published in Britain and the USA. Waiting for the Barbarians (1980) received international notice. His reputation was confirmed by Life & Times of Michael K (1983), which won Britain's Booker Prize. It was followed by Foe (1986), Age of Iron (1990), The Master of Petersburg (1994), and Disgrace (1999), which again won the Booker Prize. Coetzee also wrote two fictionalized memoirs, Boyhood (1997) and Youth (2002). The Lives of Animals (1999) is a fictionalized lecture, later absorbed into Elizabeth Costello (2003). White Writing (1988) is a set of essays on South African literature and culture. Doubling the Point (1992) consists of essays and interviews with David Attwell. Giving Offense (1996) is a study of literary censorship. Stranger Shores (2001) collects his later literary essays. Coetzee has also been active as a translator of Dutch and Afrikaans literature. In 2002 Coetzee emigrated to Australia. He became an Australian citizen in 2006.