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Author Focus

Barrie Hough
Biographical info

Barrie Michael Hough was born in Johannesburg on January 17, 1953. He matriculated at Helpmekaar Boys High in 1970 and studied BA Communications at the Rand Afrikaans University. In 1980 he obtained an MA Degree in English with a thesis on the playwright Athol Fugard. He taught at St Barnabas College for four years and was appointed at Beeld as full-time theatre critic in 1979. Later he wrote for Rapport on films, theatre and literature. He was appointed arts editor in 1999.

Barrie made his debut in 1986 with the youth book, My kat word herfs, which was a finalist in the Sanlam Youth Story Competition. His second youth book, Droomwa (1990), won three prizes: Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature (silver), Alba Bouwer Prize and C.P. Hoogenhout award. After this, Barrie was awarded the Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature (gold) on two more occasions, for Vlerkdans (1992) and Skilpoppe (1998). Skilpoppe was also the winner of the M.E.R. Prize. Breek, which he wrote with Lizz Meiring, was Barrie’s last youth novel. It was first produced as a play at the KKNK and Aardklop in 2001. Shortly afterwards the play was reworked as a novel.

Barrie passed away on 16 August, 2004.

Did you know?

  • In Barrie’s matric year (1970) he made his debut with, among others, Antjie Krog in Drumpel, an anthology of pupils’ work.
  • Droomwa is an autobiographical narration based on the time Barrie Hough lived with his family in Hillbrow as a child. My kat word herfs is also autobiographical; he really had a speech impediment; he stuttered. He also bred Siamese show cats.
  • Vlerkdans and Skilpoppe were adapted for the stage and produced. Skilpoppe was also made into a movie with actors such as Sandra Prinsloo and Marius Weyers in the cast.
  • Most of Barrie’s books were prescribed for schools and have been reprinted a number of times: Droomwa (24), Vlerkdans (31), Skilpoppe (18) and Breek (10).

Author bookshelf

Breek (with Lizz Meiring), Tafelberg (2002)
Skilpoppe, Tafelberg (1998)
Vlerkdans, Tafelberg (1998)
Droomwa, Tafelberg (1997)
My kat word herfs, Tafelberg (1997)


AA Vita Prize for Theatre Journalism (1984)
Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature: silver (1990) – Droomwa
Alba Bouwer Prize (1990) – Droomwa
C.P. Hoogenhout Award (1990) – Droomwa
Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature: gold (1992) – Vlerkdans
ATKV Children’s Book Award (1992) – Vlerkdans
Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature: gold (1998) – Skilpoppe
M.E.R. Prize (1999) – Skilpoppe

List of titles

Youth novels
1986 My kat word herfs, Tafelberg
1990 Droomwa, Tafelberg
1992 Vlerkdans, Tafelberg
1998 Skilpoppe, Tafelberg
2002 Breek (met Lizz Meiring), Tafelberg

1995 Skimmelstreke, Tafelberg


My kat word herfs (1986)

  • English (My Cat Turns Autumn, 1990)

Droomwa (1990)

  • English (Dream Chariot)

Vlerkdans (1992)

  • English (In Full Flight, 1996)

Books By This Author