Ivan Vladislavić

Fiction

2015

South Africa

Ivan Vladislavić’s fiction explores the uncomfortable aftermath of apartheid through inventive meditations on the complex intersection of history, politics, and art.

Ivan Vladislavić is a writer of fiction and non-fiction celebrated in his native South Africa for seeing history in the quotidian and juxtaposing the banal and the bizarre. His debut story collection Missing Persons (1989) mined the dark absurdity of daily life under apartheid and was awarded the Olive Schreiner Prize. Missing Persons was republished in 2010 alongside his second collection Propaganda by Monuments (1996) as the single volume Flashback Hotel: Early Stories. These writings, along with his editorial work at Staffrider Magazine and Ravan Press, made Vladislavić a key figure of literary resistance to “the demented, divided space of apartheid.” In Double Negative (2010), Vladislavić’s protagonist wonders, “How much past can the present bear?” His post-apartheid novels have continued to explore the texture and tensions of the new South Africa with his signature humor and insight. Vladislavić has twice won the University of Johannesburg Prize, first for his nonfiction book Portrait with Keys: The City of Johannesburg Unlocked (2006) and again for Double Negative. His novel The Restless Supermarket (2001) was awarded the Sunday Times Prize for Fiction. He was recently appointed a Distinguished Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand.

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Since I received the news of the prize yesterday, I have been in a bit of a daze. It is astonishingly generous and will make a decisive difference to my writing life. Thank you for recognizing the work I’ve already done and for supporting the work I still want to do.
Ivan Vladislavić