‘One of the greatest South African writers in our history’ – Max du Preez on Karel Schoeman
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Max du Preez recalls his 2014 tribute to internationally renowned South African author Karel Schoeman (77), who died on Monday.
When Du Preez won the 2014 Alan Paton Award for Non-fiction for his book Rumours of Spring, he said in his acceptance speech that the only reason he had turned up at the award ceremony was the chance of the famously reclusive meeting Schoeman, who had been shortlisted for the award for his book Portrait of a Slave Society: The Cape of Good Hope 1717 – 1795.
Du Preez wrote on Facebook yesterday: ‘When I say now that Karel Schoeman was one of the greatest South African writers in our history, I don’t say it because he died yesterday. This is what I said about him three years ago’ with a link to his speech on Books LIVE:
I’m very cynical about these literary prizes. I very rarely agree with the decisions made, and I certainly disagree with tonight’s decision. People who know me would tell you that I don’t do lots of people, I don’t feel comfortable when I’m surrounded by a lot of people. I only came tonight because I thought I was going to meet Karel Schoeman. And then he didn’t come! Which has kind of destroyed my night. But Karel Schoeman is one of my all-time heroes. He’s influenced my thinking, I envy his knowledge and his commitment. This really should have gone to him. He’s a spectacular guy. I’m sorry to miss him once again. He doesn’t return my phonecalls or my emails. For 25 years.
Read the full speech at the link above.