UCT creative writing master's student Hennie Nortjé has just been awarded the Eugène Marais Prize for Debut or Early Work for his anthology of Afrikaans poetry, 'In die skadu van soveel bome'.
Nortje (56) studied under Professor Joan Hambidge who teaches creative writing in the School of Languages, section Afrikaans and Netherlandic Studies at UCT. He says, "I think I provided a challenge for Professor Hambidge because I was one of the first middle-aged people in the class."
Nortjé is also a doctor and works during the day as a diabetologist. He said that he found the creative writing course tough and it meant balancing two different mindsets, the medical and the creative. Writing for him, happened before work, after work and even sometimes on the steering wheel. Professor Hambidge says this about Nortje, "He is an excellent, hard working poet! I like challenging students with talent."
'In die skadu van soveel bome' is a collection of poetry that tells stories about indigenous trees, a deep love of Nortjé's. "In writing, you have to go for where your passion lies and I found inspiration in indigenous trees and a deep longing to be immersed in nature," he said.
Nortjé finished his masters at UCT at the end of 2011. He started writing the anthology soon after the course was completed and the book was published in November last year by NB publishers (Queillerie).
Last week he received the exciting news of his prize. "Eugène Marais is an iconic figure of the highest order when it comes to Afrikaans poetry. To receive this prize is such an honour for me."
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Please view the republishing articles page for more information.