10 Things We Love About Nadine Gordimer

South African Writer Nadine Gordimer --- Image by © Sophie Bassouls/Sygma/Corbis
South African Writer Nadine Gordimer --- Image by © Sophie Bassouls/Sygma/Corbis

Nadine Gordimer is so legendary, when you Google her name today, you’ll find her Google Doodle as a tribute. She was not only a multiple award-winning South African writer and poet, but also a political activist and feminist icon that stood for equality and democracy. As a tribute to her on her birthday, we countdown some of things that make her one of the greats.

Google's Nadine Gordimer doodle

Google’s Nadine Gordimer doodle

  • Nadine Gordimer was a bonafide child genius having started writing at the age if nine. Her first published work, children’s short story The Quest For Seen Gold, appeared in the Children’s Sunday Express in 1937. Come Again Tomorrow was published in the liberal Johannesburg magazine, Forum at the age of 15. She already showed signs of being extraordinary from an early age.
  • Growing up in Springs on the East Rand features heavily in Gordimer’s work and although she delved deeper into her experiences much later in her literature, her insight into the spectral differences between black and white are astounding.
Nadine Gordimer- Image by © Morgenstern, Klaus/dpa/Corbis

Nadine Gordimer- Image by © Morgenstern, Klaus/dpa/Corbis

  • Nadine Gordimer was never afraid to confront the uncomfortable subjects in her novels. She addressed her own white privilege at a time when that term wasn’t trendy. She also dealt with conflicting relationships and apartheid in South Africa like no other female writer and for that, we salute her chutzpah.

  • Although many of her works were banned by the apartheid government, they were widely read elsewhere around the world increasing her notoriety in South Africa and fame overseas.
Books by the author Nadine Gordimer are seen on a bookstore shelf in New York.  Image by © Richard Levine/Demotix/Corbis

Books by the author Nadine Gordimer are seen on a bookstore shelf in New York. Image by © Richard Levine/Demotix/Corbis

  • Even though the ANC was listed as an illegal organization by the South African government, she still joined in the fight to address inequality and institutionalized racism rather than merely criticizing it from afar.
  • She said that her proudest day of her life was testifying at the 1986 Delmas Treason Trial on behalf of 22 South African anti-apartheid activists.
29 May 1993, Johannesburg, South Africa Johannesburg, South Africa: Nelson Mandela and author Nadine Gordimer sing National Liberation Anthem at Ghandi Memorial

29 May 1993, Johannesburg, South Africa Johannesburg, South Africa: Nelson Mandela and author Nadine Gordimer sing National Liberation Anthem at Ghandi Memorial

  • She has at least 15 honorary degrees.
Nadine Gordimer at Harvard University with Toni Morrison and Wole Soyinka Image by © Rick Friedman/Rick Friedman Photography/Corbis

Nadine Gordimer at Harvard University with Toni Morrison and Wole Soyinka Image by © Rick Friedman/Rick Friedman Photography/Corbis

  • HIV/Aids became a focus for Gordimer later in life and she even organised 20 major writers to contribute short fiction for Telling Tales, a fundraising book for South Africa’s Treatment Action Campaign, which lobbies for government funding for HIV/Aids prevention and care.
  • Alfred Nobel called her “A Great Benefit to Humanity” and she not only won the famous Nobel Prize for Literature, but also won the Booker Prize, W. H Smith Commonwealth Literary Award, International Botev Prize and many more.
  • She loved cats and cats loved her.
Nadine Gordimer Holding Cat  Image by © William Campbell/Sygma/Corbis

Nadine Gordimer Holding a cat. Image by © William Campbell/Sygma/Corbis

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