Nadine Gordimer’s extraordinary place in South African letters allows J. BROOKS SPECTOR to contemplate the complex interrelationship between the country’s politics and history and her astonishing literary career.
The voice on the telephone was in English but Scandinavian, slightly hesitant, ever so slightly apologetic and polite. The voice explained he was the deputy ambassador of the Swedish Embassy in Pretoria, and that he had a rather delicate matter to discuss with us in our capacity as an American diplomat. Uh oh.
The Swedish Academy had just informed him that they had decided to award Nadine Gordimer the Nobel Prize for Literature – but, before they announced it to the world, there was this small matter of speaking with her first, to make certain she would actually accept the prize. (There had been a couple of times when a recipient, like Boris Pasternak, had actually been forced to turn down a Nobel Prize, and they couldn’t have the embarrassment again.) The Academy had asked Swedish Embassy staff to speak with her first – just to make sure everything was okay.
The voice had tried to reach her at her home in Johannesburg, but she wasn’t in, and the person who had…
Source : Daily Maverick