Lauren Liebenberg

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Lauren Liebenberg
Born (1972-08-03) 3 August 1972 (age 43)[1]
Occupation Writer
Nationality South African
Notable works The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam The West Rand Jive Cats Boxing Club Cry Baby

Lauren Liebenberg (born 3 August 1972) is a Zimbabwe-born South African writer. Her debut novel The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam was nominated for the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2008.[2] Her subsequent novels, The West Rand Jive Cats Boxing Club andCry Baby, have also received international critical acclaim.


Liebenberg was born and raised in Rhodesia but in her adolescence, left newly-independent Zimbabwe for neighbouring South Africa, where her father worked in the gold-mining industry. She attended Brescia House, a Catholic school for girls in Johannesburg. After completing her under-graduate degree at the University of South Africa, she lived in England for some years, before returning to South Africa, where she graduated from the business school of the University of the Witwatersrand with a master's degree in business (MBA). She worked in investment banking and published in the field of financial markets, including a reference book entitled The Electronic Financial Markets of the Future, published in 2002 [3][4][5][6]

Her debut novel, The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam which drew upon her experiences as a child in Rhodesia during the Rhodesian Bush War, garned much attention from critics when it was published in 2008. The Guardian described it as "astonishingly vivid", going on to say that "Rhodesia springs to fecund, fetid life before your eyes ... like the children at its heart ... it’s immediate, rarely judgemental ... charming, upsetting and poignantly strange ... burrowing deep under your skin".[7] The Financial Times described it as an "elegiac first novel [that] captures the insular vulnerability of this white African childhood."[8] The Times described it as a "touching debut".[9] The Daily Mail hailed it as an "outstanding first novel".[10] The novel was also serialized by The Independent.[11]

As well being longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, Liebenberg was one of only three women to be shortlisted for the Orange debut prize in 2008.[12][13] In 2010 the novel was longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.[14]

Her follow-up novel, The West Rand Jive Cats Boxing Club a coming-of-age story set in the gold-fields of Johannesburg,was published in 2011, and also drew warm praise from critics. The Guardian said the novel had "a true, raw feel about it" and described Liebenberg as a "teriffic writer".[15] The Times called it "moving ... [an] excellently crafted story" [16] and The Financial Times hailed it as "vivid ... evocative ... and compelling".[17] Cry Baby her third and latest novel, a satire on contemporary sububia with a strong feminist theme, was published in February 2014.[18] Liebenberg is married with two children and lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.[19]


See also[edit]