Adam Small (writer)

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Adam Small
Born (1936-12-21)21 December 1936
Wellington, South Africa
Died 25 June 2016(2016-06-25) (aged 79)
Cape Town, South Africa
Nationality South African
Occupation Writer
Known for Poetry

Adam Small (21 December 1936 – 25 June 2016)[1] was a South African writer who was involved in the Black Consciousness Movement and other activism. He was noted as a Coloured writer who wrote works in Afrikaans that dealt with racial discrimination and satirized the political situation.[2] Some collections include English poems, and he translated the Afrikaans poet N P van Wyk Louw into English.


Small was awarded the Hertzog Prize in 2012 for his contribution to the drama genre. Although the award was well received for being long overdue, some controversy arose because the Academy, in making the award, broke one of their own rules stating that the prize can only be awarded to a writer who has published new and substantial work in a specific genre during the previous three years. Small's last play was published in 1983. One of his famous poems is called "Doemanie."

After decades spent out of the public eye, Small, on 14 September 2013, received a hero's welcome at the Breytenbach Centre in Wellington, where he was guest of honour at the centre's Poet Festival. He read a selection of poems from his latest anthology Klawerjas. In 2015 a new drama, Maria, Moeder van God, was broadcast on Radio Sonder Grense's yearly art festival programme.

Works include[edit]

  • Poems (undated)
  • Die Eerste Steen (undated)
  • Verse van die Liefde (1957)
  • Kitaar My Kruis (1962)
  • A Brown Afrikaner Speaks: A Coloured Poet and Philosopher Looks Ahead (1971)
  • Black Bronze Beautiful: Quatrains (1975)
  • Oh Wide and Sad Land - Afrikaans Poetry of N P van Wyk Louw translated by Adam Small (1975)
  • District Six (1986, with Chris Jansen)
  • Kanna hy kô hystoe: 'n drama (1965)
  • Die Lewe van Chad Carlton
  • Klawerjas (2013)
  • Maria, Moeder van God, a radiodrama (2015)


  1. ^ "Writer, poet Adam Small dies". News24. 25 June 2016. Retrieved 25 June 2016. 
  2. ^ European-language Writing in Sub-Saharan Africa By Albert S. Gérard