Nadine Gordimer’s works were a thorn in the side of the apartheid government, and although a number of them were banned she chose to stay on in Johannesburg. Ironically, 'July’s People', about a violent black revolution in SA, was considered racist and faced censorship by education authorities in the post-apartheid dispensation.
A long-time major figure in the world of books, Nadine Gordimer was the first South African to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Nadine Gordimer's works were a dagger in the side of the apartheid government - which banned a number of them under political censorship laws.
Co-winner of the Booker Prize in 1974 for her novel The Conservationist, which told of a white industrialist perpetuating apartheid through nature conservation, she won the ultimate literature accolade, the Nobel Prize, in 1991.
The judges noted her 'magnificent epic writing' had been of 'very great benefit to humanity'.
Other achievements were the Commonwealth Literary Award in 1961, the James Tait Memorial Prize for A Guest of Honour (1972), the Central News Agency Literary Award (4 times) and the Grand Aigle d'Or in France in 1975.
Gordimer was born of Jewish parents in the East Rand town of Springs, her father having come from Lithuania and her mother from London. Her mother was an anti-apartheid activist, and Gordimer later joined the African National Congress when it was still illegal.
Shunning exile and living in Johannesburg, Nadine Gordimer's literature often explores the difficulties and heartache of love across the colour line.
The New Yorker published her A Watcher of the Dead in 1951, and as she felt the short story was the literary form of the age, she wrote them for journals throughout her career.
Her first novel, The Lying Days, appeared in 1953, and in the 1960s and 70s she periodically taught at universities in the United States.
The Late Bourgeois World was banned in 1976, as was The World of Strangers and Burger's Daughter (1979). July's People is about a revolution in which whites are hunted down, and a couple take refuge in their domestic's home. The Pickup (2002) deals with displacement and alienation, and her 2005 novel Get a Life tells of a dying activist.