Nadine Gordimer

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Gordimer, Nadine

(nādēn` gôr`dəmər), 1923–2014, South African writer, b. Springs. A member of the African National CongressAfrican National Congress
(ANC), the oldest black (now multiracial) political organization in South Africa; founded in 1912. Prominent in its opposition to apartheid, the organization began as a nonviolent civil-rights group.
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, Gordimer fought apartheidapartheid
[Afrik.,=apartness], system of racial segregation peculiar to the Republic of South Africa, the legal basis of which was largely repealed in 1991–92. History
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 in her political life and in her writings, which often combine the political and personal. She was militantly critical of South African life in many of her more than two dozen works of fiction, and tendered little moral hope for whites who lived under apartheid. In 1991 she won the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Gordimer published her first short story at age 15 and later many of her stories appeared in the New Yorker magazine. Her stories show a fine sensitivity to the complexities of human relationships; taken together, they form a social history of South Africa during and after apartheid. Her collections include Selected Stories (1975), A Soldier's Embrace (1980), Jump and Other Stories (1991), Why Haven't You Written? Selected Stories 1950–1972 (1993), Loot and Other Stories (2003), Beethoven Was One-Sixteenth Black and Other Stories (2007), and Life Times: Stories, 1952–2007 (2010). Her novels include A World of Strangers (1958), The Late Bourgeois World (1966), A Guest of Honor (1970), The Conservationist (1974, Booker Prize), Burger's Daughter (1979), July's People (1981), A Sport of Nature (1987), My Son's Story (1990), Get a Life (2005), and No Time like the Present (2012). Gordimer also wrote many essays, often political or literary; they were collected in The Essential Gesture (1988), Writing and Being (1995), Living in Hope and History (1999), Telling Times: Writing and Living, 1954–2008 (2010), and other books.


See N. T. Bazin and M. D. Seymour, ed., Conversations with Nadine Gordimer (1990); biography by R. S. Roberts (2005); studies by J. Cooke (1985), S. Clingman (1986), R. Smith, ed. (1990), K. Kreimeier (1991), B. King, ed. (1993), D. Head (1995), K. Wagner (1994), J. Uraizee (1999), B. Temple-Thurston (1999), and B. J. Uledi Kamanga (2002); D. Goldblatt, ed. A Writing Life: Celebrating Nadine Gordimer (1998).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Gordimer, Nadine


Born 1923, near Johannesburg. South African writer.

Gordimer wrote the novels The Lying Days (1953). A World of Strangers (1958), and The Late Bourgeois World (1966). as well as collections of stories, including The Soft Voice of the Serpent (1952), Six Feet of the Country (1956), and Not for Publication and Other Stories (1965). As an opponent of racism, Gordimer shows sympathy for the Africans, although she does not fully value the significance of the struggle against apartheid.


Friday’s Footprint, and Other Stories. New York, 1960.
A Guest of Honour. New York. 1970.
In Russian translation:
Rasskazy. [Foreword by A. Petrikovskaia.] Moscow, 1971.


Ulman. R. “Nadine Gordimer.” Wilson Library Bulletin, vol. 33. May 1959, no. 9, p. 616.
McGuiness, F. “The Novels of Nadine Gordimer.” London Magazine, vol. 5. June 1965, pp. 97–102.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.