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Author Focus

Anna M. Louw
Biographical info

Anna M Louw, one of the greatest Afrikaans novelists, died on 12 June 2003 at the age of 89. She was born on 31 December 1913 in the Calvinia district in the Northwestern Cape.

Louw's first stories appeared in Die Huisgenoot in 1945 and she published ten novels and two collections of short stories over a period of more than thirty years. Her debut work, Die onverdeelde uur, appeared in 1956 and throughout her career, up until her last book, Vos, that appeared in 1999, readers were, in the words of Kerneels Breytenbach ``enchanted and riveted by her sharp observation, wonderful use of irony and the manner in which she portrayed human beings in their simplicity, surrounded by the huge powers of nature and hampered by the forces of human weakness’’.

The novel for which Louw is probably best known is Kroniek van Perdepoort (1975), for which she won the Hertzog Prize in 1976 and the WA Hofmeyr Prize in 1977. Kannemeyer observes that with this novel she followed up the issue of good and evil in Afrikaans prose. In this regard Louw herself said that the archetype she used as a theme in the novel was that of the seven deadly sins.

It was appropriate that Elize Botha described her as “one of our greatest Afrikaans writers’’. “She was a writer of novels in the great classical tradition. She was a fearless writer who did not shy away from the portrayal of misdeeds and injustices, but was equally unafraid to describe the wonders of God.”

Books By This Author