Etienne-van-Heerden-South-AfricaETIENNE VAN HEERDEN was born in 1954 and grew up in the Eastern Cape Karoo, matriculated from Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch and studied Law and Literature at the Universities of Stellenbosch (BA Honours, cum laude and LLB), the Witwatersrand (MA, cum laude) and obtained his PhD from Rhodes. He currently works as the Hofmeyr Professor in the School of Languages and Literatures, and chairs the Afrikaans and Netherlandic Studies Section at the University of Cape Town.


With numerous awards to his name, including the Hertzog Prize, the M-Net Award, and the University of Johannesburg Literature Prize in 2009 for his novel Dertig nagte in Amsterdam, van Heerden is eminent within Afrikaans literature, having authored novels, short story collections, books of poetry, essays and cabaret collections. He is also founder and editor of the internet journal, LitNet, which although Afrikaans-centred, is also open to a multicultural environment.


During the 1980s van Heerden was a member of a group of Afrikaans writers secretly meeting the banned ANC and exiled writers at the ' Victoria Falls Writers' Conference', held in Zimbabwe. Resolute in his political ideas that in turn influenced his writing during a time of great turmoil in South Africa, van Heerden comments: “My generation of writers saw ourselves as alternative historians, urged by circumstances to lay bare the true currents of power, and the disparities between the possessors and the dispossessed. We wrote against canonized Apartheid history.”


His satirical cabaret work is a regular feature on the major arts festivals in South Africa. His short stories and poems have been published in more than sixty anthologies in South Africa and overseas. Most of his work has been translated into English and Dutch, and some into German, French, Greek, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish.

Van Heerden is a columnist in a variety of journals and South African newspapers and currently writes a column syndicated to Die Burger, Volksblad andBeeld.


Bibliography (Selected)

Dertig nagte in Amsterdam, 2008, Tafelberg Publishers Ltd

Die swye van Mario Salviati, 2006, Tafelberg Publishers Ltd

Mad Dog and Other Stories, 1992, David Phillips Publishers

My Kubaan, 1983, Tafelberg Publishers Ltd