André Brink

Literary Birthday – 29 May – André Brink

André Brink, was born 29 May 1935, and died 6 February 2015.

Updated 7 February 2015: Celebrated South African author, André Brink has died at the age of 79. He was aboard a flight travelling from Amsterdam to Cape Town on Friday night when he passed away.

Seven Quotes

  1. Believe utterly in the story you have to tell.
  2. Perhaps all one can really hope for, all I am entitled to, is no more than this: to write it down. To report what I know. So that it will not be possible for any man ever to say again: I knew nothing about it.
  3. My library was — all libraries are — a place of ultimate refuge, a wild and sacred space where meanings are manageable precisely because they aren’t binding; and where illusion is comfortingly real. To read, to think, to trace words back to their origins real or presumed; to invent; to dare to imagine.
  4. A country can’t love you. At most it may need you. It’s much the same as people.
  5. If I speak with a character’s voice it is because that character’s become so much part of me that … I think I have the right then to imagine myself into the skin, into the life, into the dreams, into the experience of the particular character that I’ve chosen.
  6. Now that the ANC has moved into power, its regime sadly must be branded as the enemy of the people.
  7. No, I don’t ‘translate’ my work! I write every book in two languages: that is why the two versions are usually different from each other. Sometimes subtly, sometimes blatantly. Because every language has something that can be said in no other language, each of the two languages in which I write sends [me] in a somewhat different direction.

Read my 2005 interview with André Brink.

André Brink was a South African novelist who was best know for his novel, A Dry White Season. He wrote in both Afrikaans and English and was a Professor of English at the University of Cape Town. He was a key figure in the Afrikaans literary movement Die Sestigers in the 1960s – along with Ingrid Jonker and Breyten Breytenbach. The movement used Afrikaans as a language to speak out against the apartheid government. His other novels include Philida and Rumours of Rain.

Source for image

Seamus Kearney, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 29th May 2014