Gordimer as featured in the 1981 BBC series "Writers And Places."

Gordimer as featured in the 1981 BBC series “Writers And Places.”

I don’t cry. Unfortunately, I seem rather short of tears, so my sorrows have to stay inside me.

If any writer could lay claim to being politically and socially conscious, outspoken, and brave in the face of conflict, Nadine Gordimer could. The South African literary giant has died at the age of 90 in her Johannesburg home, leaving behind a rich legacy of novels, short stories, essays, and plays. Throughout her career, Gordimer demonstrated a fierce opposition to racial discrimination and strong support for freedom of expression. Both personal and political, her writing constantly probed these two subjects.

In 1991 Gordimer became the first South African writer to win the Nobel Prize. Prior to that she had won the Booker Prize for her novel The Conservationist. As she became increasingly radical in her outlook during the 70s, Gordimer became more well-received outside internationally. Three of her novels were banned during South Africa’s apartheid days. But even after the fall of apartheid, Gordimer continued to both promote and question white liberal values. Even though she was seen as a friend of the African National Congress, Gordimer recently attacked the ruling party’s “secrecy bill’ as bringing the country “back to apartheid censorship under a new guise.”

In a recent interview fellow South African writer J. M. Coetzee commented: “As a writer and as a human being, Nadine Gordimer responded with exemplary courage and creative energy to the great challenge of her times.”

A selection of Nadine Gordimer’s works in the Public Libraries: