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Author Focus

Antjie Krog
Biographical info

Anna Elizabeth (Antjie) Krog was born on October 23, 1952 in Kroonstad. She was 18 years old when her first volume of poetry, Dogter van Jefta was published in 1970.

In 1972 Januarie-suite was published, and in 1973 it received the Eugène Marais Award.

She completed a BA Degree and an Honours Degree in English (1973) at the University of the Free State. In 1976, she completed an MA Degree in Afrikaans at the University of Pretoria.

Her volume of poetry Jerusalemgangers was awarded the Rapport Prize in 1987, and in 1990 she received the Hertzog Prize for poetry for her volume Lady Anne.

In 1993 she was appointed at the magazine Die Suid-Afrikaan, and in 1995 she started working as a political reporter for the SABC. Antjie reported on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's hearings from 1996 to 1998. She chronicled her experiences regarding this process in Country of My Skull, which was published in 1998 and received, amongst others, the Alan Paton Award for non-fiction and the Olive Schreiner Prize.

Her volume Met woorde soos met kerse in which her Afrikaans translations and adaptations of South African indigenous language poems (including the San languages) are contained, was awarded first place in the South African Translators Institute's Competition (held every three years) in 2003.

In 2004, her volume of poetry Die sterre sê 'tsau' was published by Kwela Books and subsequently shortlisted for the 2005 M-Net Poetry Prize.

Kleur kom nooit alleen nie was awarded the first RAU (now University of Johannesburg) Prize for creative writing in 2001.

She has been an extraordinary Professor of Literature and Philosophy at the University of the Western Cape since 2004.

Did you know?

· Antjie comes from a family of authors and her mother is the famous Afrikaans writer Dot Serfontein.
· A poem Antjie wrote as an 18-year-old schoolgirl caused an uproar countrywide: "Gee vir my 'n land waar swart en wit hand aan hand / vrede en liefde kan bring in my mooi land".
· Two of her volumes of poetry, Mannin and Beminde Antarktika, were published simultaneously in 1975.
· She initially wrote Country of My Skull in Afrikaans, and it was later translated; it was edited by author Ivan Vladislavic. The book has been published in various countries. It was later made into a film, entitled In My Country, starring Juliette Binoche and Samuel L. Jackson.
· Antjie's only stage play, Waarom is die wat voor toyi-toyi altyd so vet?, was performed in 1999 under the direction of Marthinus Basson. 'n Ander tongval was, however, adapted for the stage by Saartjie Botha and starred Antoinette Kellerman and Nina Swart.
· She translated Nelson Mandela's autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, into Afrikaans as Lang pad na vryheid.
· In 1992 and 2004 she was invited to take part in the Poetry International Festival in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. In 2003 she was invited to open the international literary festival, Winternachten, in The Hague.

Author bookshelf

Mede-wete / Synapse, Human & Rousseau (2014)
Mankepank en ander verse
, Tafelberg (2011)
'n Ander tongval, Tafelberg (2005)
Eerste gedigte, Human & Rousseau (2004)
Lady Anne, Human & Rousseau (2004)
Met woorde soos met kerse, Kwela Boeke (2002)

Eugène Marais Prize (1973) - Januarie-suite
Reina Prinsen-Geerligs Prize (1977) - Mannin and Beminde Antarktika
Rapport Prize (1987) - Jerusalemgangers
Hertzog Prize for poetry (1990) - Lady Anne
Sunday Times/Alan Paton Award for nonfiction (1999) - Country of my Skull
Bookseller's Choice Award (1999) - Country of my Skull
Award from the Hiroshima Foundation for Peace and Culture (2000) - Country of my Skull
Olive Schreiner Prize for prose (2001) - Country of my Skull
RAU Prize for creative writing (2001) - Kleur kom nooit alleen nie
FNB Vita Poetry Award (2000) - Down to my Last Skin
South African Translators' Institute Award for Outstanding Translation (2003) - Met woorde soos met kerse
Bookseller's Choice Award (2004) - A Change of Tongue
Honorary doctorate from the University of Stellenbosch (2004)
Honorary doctorate from the University of the Free State (2004)
Afrikaans Onbeperk Award for innovative thinking from the KKNK (2004)
Protea Poetry Prize (2007) - Verweerskrif

List of titles

1970 Dogter van Jefta
1972 Januarie-suite
1975 Mannin
1975 Beminde Antarktika
1981 Otters in bronslaai
1984 Eerste gedigte
1985 Jerusalemgangers
1989 Lady Anne
1995 Gedigte (1989-1995)
2000 Kleur kom nooit alleen nie
2000 Down to my Last Skin
2004 Die sterre sê 'tsau'
2004 The Stars say 'tsau'
2006 Verweerskrif
2006 Body bereft
2014 Medewete / Synapse

Children's poetry
1985 Mankepank en ander monsters
1992 Voëls van anderster vere
2007 Fynbosfeetjies

1995 Relaas van 'n moord

1998 Country of my Skull
2003 A Change of Tongue
2005 'n Ander tongval

1989 Die rottevanger van Hameln
1999 Domein van glas (from the Dutch Een mondvol glas by Henk van Woerden)
2001 Lang pad na vryheid: die outobiografie van Nelson Mandela (translation of Long Walk to Freedom)
2002 Met woorde soos met kerse
2002 Mamma Medea: na Apollonios van Rhodos en Euripides (translation of the Flemish play Mamma Medea by Tom Lanoye)

1992 Deurloop: keur uit die essays van Dot Serfontein.
1996 Losvoor: 'n versameling van Afrikaanse poësie
1998 Die dye trek die dye aan: verse oor lyflike liefde (with Johann de Lange)
2005 Nuwe stemme 3 (with Alfred Schaffer)


Relaas van 'n moord (1995)
English Account of a Murder (1997)
Dutch Relaas van een moord (2003)


Country of my Skull (1998)
Dutch (De kleur van je hart, 2000)
French (La Douleur des Mots)


Kleur kom nooit alleen nie (2000)
English (Down to my Last Skin, 2000)


A Change of Tongue (2003)
Afrikaans ('n Ander tongval, 2005)

Die sterre sê 'tsau' (2004)
English the stars say ‘tsau’ (2004)
Dutch (Wat de sterren zeggen, 2004)

Verweerskrif (2006)
English (Body Bereft, 2006)
Dutch (Lijfkreet, 2006)

Fynbosfeetjies (2007)
English (Fynbos Fairies, 2007)

Books By This Author