Readersforum's Blog

November 19, 2012

An intimate matter for J.M. Coetzee

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 6:32 am

  By J.C. Kannemeyer

MY letter of June 9, 2008, to John Coetzee, in which I asked his permission to undertake his biography, must have reached him while he was still writing away at Summertime. My request may have raised a smile.

Here he had been since April 2005 in Adelaide writing about a fictional English biographer, Mr Vincent, engaged in the preliminaries for a biography of the dead author J. M. Coetzee. And here appears a real biographer applying to write a real biography.

This biographer does not, as one would expect, emerge from the ranks of the English literary world but from the much smaller province of Afrikaans literature. Perhaps the very fact the request was coming from outside the sphere of English literature may have appealed to Coetzee, with his contrarian take on things.

When I was in Adelaide in March 2009 to conduct interviews with Coetzee, he was on his second revision of Summertime. He answered all my questions meticulously and impressed me as a man of integrity.

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