Marlene van Niekerk

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Marlene van Niekerk
Marlene van Niekerk.jpg
Van Niekerk (2018)
Born (1954-11-10) 10 November 1954 (age 63)
Nationality  South Africa
Notable awards Ingrid Jonker Prize
Hertzog Prize

Marlene van Niekerk is a South African author who is best known for her novel Triomf. Her graphic and controversial descriptions of a poor Afrikaner family in Johannesburg brought her to the forefront of a post-apartheid society, still struggling to come to terms with all the changes in South Africa.

She explains that the portraying the separation of the sexes in her work is the result of being "outside the main arena" as an Afrikaner lesbian.[1]


Marlene van Niekerk was born on 10 November 1954 on the farm Tygerhoek near Caledon in the Western Cape, South Africa. She attended school in Riviersonderend and Stellenbosch, where she matriculated from Hoërskool Bloemhof.

She studied Languages and Philosophy at Stellenbosch University and obtained an MA with the thesis: Die aard en belang van die literêre vormgewing in 'Also sprach Zarathustra' in 1978.

At university she wrote three plays for the lay theatre. In 1979 she moved to Germany to join theatres in Stuttgart and Mainz as apprentice for directing. From 1980 - 1985 she continued her studies of philosophy in the Netherlands and obtained a Drs with a thesis on the works of Claude Lévi-Strauss and Paul Ricoeur: "Taal en mythe: een structuralistische en een hermeneutische benadering."

Back in South Africa she lectured in Philosophy at the University of Zululand, and later at Unisa. Afterwards she was lecturer in Afrikaans and Dutch at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Marlene van Niekerk is now Professor at the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, Stellenbosch University.


  • Sprokkelster (poems), 1977
  • Groenstaar (poems), 1983
  • Die vrou wat haar verkyker vergeet het (short stories)
  • Triomf (novel), 1994; translated as Triomf[2] by Leon de Kock, 2000
  • Agaat (novel), 2004; translated as The Way of the Women by Michiel Heyns, 2007; shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, 2008. Published in North America from Tin House Books (as Agaat) in 2010.
  • Memorandum: 'n Verhaal met Prente (novel), 2006, with paintings by Adriaan van Zyl; translated as Memorandum: A Story with Pictures by Michiel Heyns, 2006
  • Die Sneeuslaper (short stories), 2010
  • Kaar (poems), 2013


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fowler, JK. "PEN 2010: Toni Morrison and Marlene Van Niekerk in Conversation with K. Anthony Appiah". The Mantle. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  2. ^ "Little Brown Book Group about Triomf". Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  3. ^ Breuer, Rosemarie. "Marlene van Niekerk". Retrieved 2018-01-24. 

External links[edit]