NB Publishers

Sign up for our newsletter!

Author Focus

Ingrid Winterbach
Biographical info

Ingrid Gerda Winterbach was born in Johannesburg on 14 February 1948. She matriculated at Florida High School. In 1969 she completed a BA Degree in Fine Arts at the University of the Witwatersrand, and in 1970 she completed an Honours Degree in Afrikaans and Dutch at the same university. She completed her Masters’ Degree in Afrikaans and Dutch in 1974 at the University of Stellenbosch under the supervision of D.J. Opperman. In the years following her studies, she was a teacher, a journalist at Die Burger, and for thirteen years a lecturer in the Fine Arts Department of the University of Stellenbosch. After that, Winterbach was also a lecturer in Afrikaans and Dutch at the University of Natal. She has been writing and painting full time since 2002. She lives in Stellenbosch with her husband, the painter Andries Gouws.


Her first novel, Klaaglied vir Koos, was published in 1984 under the alias Lettie Viljoen. She published four more books under this name. In 1994 she was awarded both the M-Net and Ou Mutual Prize for her novel Karolina Ferreira. Buller se plan (1999) was the first novel to be published under the name Ingrid Winterbach. In 2004 Winterbach was awarded the Hertzog Prize for prose for Niggie. In 2007 her eighth novel, Die boek van toeval en toeverlaat, was awarded the M-Net Prize, WA Hofmeyr Prize and UJ Prize for creative writing. He next novel, Die benederyk (2010), was awarded the M-Net Prize, the UJ Prize for creative writing as well as the WA Hofmeyr Prize. Die aanspraak van lewende wesens, 2012, was awarded every single literary award available in Afrikaans: WA Hofmeyr Prize (2013), Hertzog Prize for prose (2013), NB-Uitgewers Groot Romankompetisie (2012), M-Net Prize (2013) and the University of Johannesburg Prize (2013).


Winterbach has been a writer in residence at CalArts (California Institute of the Arts), a fellow at STIAS (Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study), and has done a residency as visual artist at the Ampersand Foundation in New York.


Her substantial oeuvre over a span of more than three decades shows proof of Winterbach’s contribution to the literary world of Southern Africa. Her novels have been translated into Dutch and French, and published in the United States.


Author bookshelf


As Ingrid Winterbach

Vlakwater, Human & Rousseau (2015)

It Might Get Loud, (translation of Die aanspraak van lewende wesens), Human & Rousseau (2015)

The Road of Excess (translation of Die benederyk) (2014)

Die aanspraak van lewende wesens, Human & Rousseau (2012)

Die Benederyk, Human & Rousseau (2010)

The Book of Happenstance (translation of Die boek van toeval en toeverlaat), Human & Rousseau (2008)

To Hell with Cronjé (translation of Niggie), Human & Rousseau (2007)

Die boek van toeval en toeverlaat, Human & Rousseau (2006)

The Elusive Moth (translation of Karolina Ferreira), Human & Rousseau (2005)

Niggie, Human & Rousseau (2002)

Buller se plan, Human & Rousseau (1999)


As Lettie Viljoen

Landskap met vroue en slang, Human & Rousseau (1996)

Karolina Ferreira, Human & Rousseau (1993)

Belemmering, Taurus (1990)

Erf, Taurus (1986)

Klaaglied vir Koos, Taurus (1984)



* Vlakwater: short-listed for the UJ Prize for Creative Writing (2016), short-listed for WA Hofmeyr Prize (2016)

* Die aanspraak van lewende wesens: WA Hofmeyr Prize (2013), Hertzog Prize for prose (2013), NB-Uitgewers Groot Romankompetisie (2012), M-Net Prize (2013) and the University of Johannesburg Prize (2013)

* Die benederyk: the M-Net Prize (2011), the UJ Prize for creative writing (2011); the WA Hofmeyr Prize (2011).

* Die boek van toeval en toeverlaat: C.L. Engelbrecht Prize (2012), University of Johannesburg Prize for creative writing (2007), M-Net Prize (2007), WA Hofmeyr Prize (2007)

* The Book of Happenstance: SALA Prize for a literary translation (2010)

* Niggie: Hertzog Prize for prose (2004)

* Buller se plan: WA Hofmeyr Prize (2000)

* Karolina Ferreira: Ou Mutual Literary Prize (1994), M-Net Prize (1994)



* Karolina Ferreira (1993) – English: The Elusive Moth (2005), French: Au Café du Rendez-vous (2015)

* Niggie (2002) – English: To Hell with Cronje (2007), Dutch: Niggie (2007)

* Die boek van toeval en toeverlaat (2006) – English: The Book of Happenstance (2008), Dutch: Het boek van toeval en toeverlaat (2008)

* Die benederyk (2010) – English: The Road of Excess (2014)

* Die aanspraak van lewende wesens (2012) – English: It Might Get Loud (2015)




“Winterbach is the kind of writer any literature could be envious of.” Marlene van Niekerk


“An intelligent literary mystery … Winterbach’s characters are rich, her story foreboding and tense, and her prose remarkably lean.” Publishers Weekly


“This witty, allusive novel reads like a detective story, although its mysteries are irresolvable. Along the way it reflects on the beauty of seashells, the origins of the universe, the afterlife of words. I loved it.” Ivan Vladislavic, The Sunday Independent on The Book of Happenstance


The Road of Excess is an important addition to the list of Winterbach’s translated works. She has received every Afrikaans literary accolade – some often – and is doubtless one of our most important novelists.” Michael Titlestad, The Sunday Times

“The book certainly deserves a wide audience. […] Winterbach’s prose is relentlessly plain, but breathtaking agile.” – Sharon Dell on To Hell with Cronje, The Witness (2008)


To Hell with Cronje succeeds in recreating the psychological intimacy of camaraderie and the effects of trauma during warfare in both the individual and the collective experiences of its characters. The poignancy with which the novel depicts its characters trying to negotiate their way through a war many of them are disillusioned with-echoed by the novel’s title-is more than merely anti-war in its sentiments. […] To Hell with Cronje succeeds in both retaining and transposing the authorial tone and emotional resonance of Niggie.” – Riaan Oppelt, LitNet (2008)



“Award-winning South African author, Ingrid Winterbach, stretches the intrigue, building the tension to its violent, eruptive end. […] The Elusive Moth is a compelling and seductive read.” – Terry Ellen, www.writerswrite.co.za

  • View Blog
  • View YouTube Page

Books By This Author