Chris Van Wyk is an important figure on the South African literary scene. Born in 1957 in a coloured township of Johannesburg, he experienced at first hand the inequality and deprivation reserved to “non-whites” during apartheid. Fascinated by literature from a very young age, Van Wyk rose to fame in the 1970s for his engaged poems where absurdity and humor brought a daring counterpoint to the harsh realities they were referring to. In 2004, his acclaimed childhood memoir “Shirley, Goodness & Mercy” gave a delightful account of his special relationship to the township he grew up in and its inhabitants. In this interview with Africa Book Club, Chris Van Wyk discusses his writing, the challenge of finding a readership in South Africa and the present state of his country.
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