A South African novelist who scooped a global literary prize this year has joined the English Creative Writing department at Wits.
Award-winning novelist and non-fiction writer Professor Ivan Vladislavic is the recent winner of the 2015 Yale University Windham-Campbell Prize for fiction, a prize which is only awarded to one of nine authors worldwide.
Novelists Donald Windham and Sandy M Campbell established the prize in 2013 to call attention to literary achievement and provide writers with the opportunity to focus on their work independently of financial concerns. The prize is $150,000, approximately R1,8-million.
This award-winning novelist and editor has decided to use his many years of writing experience to help students develop their own writing skills in the Wits Creative Writing Department.
Vladislavic said: “The energy of Braamfontein is fascinating and I love the way that Wits has helped to shape the urban development of Braamfontein, with projects such as WAM.” He sees Wits’ help in urban development as a positive factor in his decision to join the Wits team.
A freelance novelist and editor for over 30 years, Vladislavic decided he had reached a point in his life where he was “ready to give back some of the knowledge” he has gained over the years.
His work has taken “a long time”, more than 20 years, to find resounding international recognition, he said.
“The attention that the prize has given to my books together with my distinguished professorship at Wits allow me to pursue my own work in a way that’s never been possible before. I’m a lucky man,” Vladislavic told BDlive.
Born in Pretoria, Vladislavic has always had a passion for nearby Johannesburg. His 2006 internationally acclaimed book, Portrait with Keys, captured the essence of Johannesburg in a compilation of his thoughts, observations and memories of the city.
Vladislavic studied at Wits over 40 years ago and has kept a strong relationship with other writers at Wits, having a board membership at Wits Press. He has written novels such as The Restless Supermarket, The Exploded View and Double Negative and has edited books on architecture, art and photography.