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Biography of ZoŽ WICOMB

South Africa > Literature : ZoŽ WICOMB

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Born on 23/11/1948 (format : day/month/year)

Biography :

Zoe Wicomb born Novembre 23, 1948,is a South African writer whose fiction is studied on postcolonial courses in various countries. Her writing has generated critical works and PhD theses.Her own critical writing is on South African literature and Postcolonial theory. In 2009 she received an Honorary Doctorate from the Open University.

ZoŽ Wicomb was born in 1948 in Beeswater, a small settlement in the semi-arid area of Klein Namaqualand in the Western Cape province of South Africa. The daughter of a schoolteacher, she grew up in a family that spoke English in an Afrikaans-speaking Griqua community. In the racially segregated South African education system, knowledge of English allowed Wicomb access to better schooling than her peers in the village. She was sent to Cape Town for high school, after which she attended the University of the Western Cape, a higher education institution that the apartheid government had designated for coloured students. In 1970 she went to the United Kingdom for graduate studies at Reading University, †She lived in England the went back to South Africa and taught at the University of the Western Cape. She now resides in Scotland where she is a professor at the University of Strathclyde. She is the author of numerous articles dealing with issues of feminism and postcolonial literature. Her first book, a collection of short stories, You Can't get Lost in Cape Town is regarded very highly. Since then she has written a novel which really wrestles with issues of identity, race, ethnicity, representation, feminism, and love.

Her first novel David's Story has received much critical acclaim although Wicomb is rather wary of the praise. "I have now decided this is a book academics like, a horrible indictment. We don't like academics, do we?".Her second novel, David's Story (2002), takes place in 1991 toward the close of the apartheid era and uses the ambiguous classification of coloureds to explore racial identity. Playing in the Light, her third novel, released in 2006, covers similar terrain conceptually, though this time set in contemporary South Africa and centering around a white woman who learns that her parents were actually coloured. She published her second collection of short stories, The One That Got Away. The stories, set mainly in Cape Town and Glasgow, explore a range of human relationships: marriage, friendships, family ties or relations with servants.

She was a winner of the 2013 Windham–Campbell Literature Prize for Fiction. Her †book "October",;the story of Mercia Murray. Abandoned by her partner in Scotland, where she has been living for twenty-five years, Mercia returns to her homeland of South Africa to find her family overwhelmed by their alcoholism and secrets. Poised between her new life in Scotland and her own life in South Africa, she recollects the past with a keen sense of irony as she searches for some idea of a home

Zoe Wicomb resides in Glasgow where she teaches creative writing and post-colonial literature at the University of Strathclyde

Last update : 10/30/2015

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