Born in 1940, John Maxwell Coetzee grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, where he attended St. Joseph’s College, and later studied mathematics and English at the University of Cape Town. He received his Bachelor of Arts with Honours in English in 1960 and his Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Mathematics in 1961.
In 1962, Coetzee relocated to the United Kingdom, before moving the United States to study at the University of Texas at Austin as a Fulbright scholar. From 1968 to 1971, he taught English and literature at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He started working on his first novel, Dusklands, while teaching at Buffalo.
In 1971, after being denied US permanent residence, he returned to South Africa, where he started out teaching part-time at the University of Cape Town.
By the time he retired in 2002, he had risen to the rank of Distinguished Professor of Literature. In 2002, Coetzee relocated to Adelaide, Australia, where he was made an honorary research fellow at the English Department of the University of Adelaide. He became an Australian citizen in 2006.
One of the most successful South African novelists, Coetzee received the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature, one of only three African writers to ever receive this prestigious award. He has won the Man Booker Prize twice, in 1983 for his book Life and Times of Michael K, and in 1999 for Disgrace. The latter book also won the 2000 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.
Selected Books by J.M. Coetzee
- Dusklands (1974)
- Life and Times of Michael K (1983)
- The Master of Petersburg (1994)
- Boyhood (1997)
- Disgrace (1999)
- Youth (2002)
- Elizabeth Costello (2003)
- Summertime (2009)