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Author Focus

Izak de Vries
Biographical info

Izak Daniël de Vries was born in Port Elizabeth on 19 January 1969. He grew up in Johannesburg, Laaiplek on the West Coast, De Doorns and Pietermaritzburg. He matriculated in 1986 from Voortrekker High School in Pietermaritzburg.

In 1992 he completed a BA Degree, majoring in Philosophy and Afrikaans & Dutch, at the University of Natal. In 1993 he was awarded an M-Net bursary for study in creative writing, and completed his Honours Degree in creative writing as a student of Etienne van Heerden at Rhodes University in Grahamstown. In 1999 Izak completed his Master’s Degree at the University of Cape Town. Also in 1999, he became involved with LitNet and these days he is a publisher of school books.

Izak made his writing debut in 1998 with a collection of short stories entitled Kom slag ’n bees. Over the years many of his short stories have appeared in anthologies.

His second volume of short stories, Byna liefde, was published in 2008, a decade after his first.

Did you know?  

· His grandfather, Stoffel, and grandmother, Miep Nienaber, were well-known literary people.
· In 1991 he won the short story section of the University of Pretoria’s Inkling Competition.
· In 1992 he was awarded: the JJ le Roux Award for the best student in Afrikaans and Dutch at the University of Natal; the Perskor Award for the best student in Linguistics; the HAUM Award for Literature; and a merit award from the University of Natal.
· Izak has completed the Comrades Marathon four times.

Books still in print

Byna liefde, Tafelberg (2008)

Noteworthy

The M-Net bursary for study in creative writing (1993)

List of published works

Prose: short stories
1998 Kom slag ’n bees, Tafelberg
2008 Byna liefde, Tafelberg

Prose: children’s books
2003 Spesiale dae, Nasou Via Afrika
2003 Special days, Nasou Via Afrika

Anthologies:

1999 Die rooi roman (editors: Etienne van Heerden and Jaco Botha), Human & Rousseau
1999 Die mooiste liefde is verby (editor: Etienne van Heerden), Tafelberg
2001 Kruis en dwars (compiled by Jeanette Ferreira), Van Schaik
2004 Liefde, Natuurlik (compiled by Daniel Hugo and Carina Diedericks-Hugo), Lapa
2006 Die melkweg het ’n ster laat val (compiled by Riana Scheepers), Human & Rousseau
2006 In ’n neutedop (compiled by Izak de Vries and Karen Simpson), Bateleur Boeke
2007 Alles goed en wel (compiled by Abraham H. de Vries), Lapa
2007 Biltong en Barakat (compiled by Rudi Daniels, Hettie Glass and Annarina Lubbe), Tafelberg
2008 Storiejoernaal (compiled by JP and Ria Smuts), Best Books

Translations

Kom slag ’n bees (1998) & Byna liefde (2008)
English (Rites of the ox, 2004)

Excerpts from reviews

“In Byna liefde the same lyrical, unsettling author can be heard who still impresses me with his literary and technical prowess… Byna liefdecan be appreciated on many levels – therein lies the biggest worth of this volume. The brilliant fairy tale “Om ’n sekretarisvoël lief te kry” and the seemingly simplistic “Na aanleiding van ’n soen vir Twombly” are stories which prove De Vries is a master writer.” – Riana Scheepers (Die Burger, 2008)

Byna liefde is one of the best volumes in contemporary Afrikaans short stories - able to involve itself so fully with a selected theme. De Vries writes so compellingly and searchingly that one cannot help but be swept along.” – Theo Kemp (Beeld, 2008)

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