Coetzee wins Nobel Prize for Literature

Dr J.M. Coetzee

Dr J.M. Coetzee
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Friday, 3 October 2003

One of the biggest literature prizes in the world - the Nobel Prize for Literature - was awarded overnight (Thursday night, Australian time) to J.M. Coetzee, an Honorary Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide's English department.

The South African essayist, novelist and critic is regarded as one of the greatest living writers and also has the distinction of being one of only two people to win the Booker Prize twice.

He becomes yet another person directly associated with the University of Adelaide to receive a Nobel Prize.

Former staff member Sir William Henry Bragg and his son Sir William Lawrence Bragg, a University of Adelaide graduate, were awarded a Nobel Prize in 1915 for their pioneering work with X-rays. Medicine graduate Lord Howard Florey received his Nobel Prize in 1945 for his work in developing penicillin.

Dr Coetzee was appointed to his position at the University of Adelaide in June 2002, in which he provides mentoring and support to Creative Writing postgraduate students and staff.

In July this year, the University hosted a rare public appearance by Dr Coetzee, when he gave a reading of his work to 200 people at the University's Barr Smith Library. He read his short story A House In Spain and his translations of Dutch poet Rutger Kopland's work.

University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor Professor James McWha commended Dr Coetzee on his exceptional achievement.

"I congratulate Dr Coetzee for being awarded the Nobel Prize in recognition of his ongoing contribution to the literary field," Professor McWha says. "We are privileged to have him as a part of the University of Adelaide community.

"It's a real boost for our Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, and in particular our students and staff in the Discipline of English. To have someone of Dr Coetzee's standing associated with the university provides our students with a magnificent role model, whose achievements they can aspire to and hopefully emulate.

"I am sure everyone at the university will be as thrilled as I am at Dr Coetzee's achievement."

Dr Coetzee is currently in Chicago, where he is a member of the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. His most recent novel, Elizabeth Costello, is currently available in bookstores everywhere.


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