Nobel Winner's Ideas on Writing
NADINE GORDIMER, who won the 1991 Nobel Prize for Literature last week, talked with Monitor Radio the day the award was announced. Excerpts from the broadcast interview follow.You are known for outspoken criticism of apartheid and your advocacy of black-majority rule. Do you think that winning this award will help you to advance those causes? Well I hope so! I do hope so. You know that would be a real bonus.
Did you grow up in South Africa?
Yes, I was born there and grew up there. And I still live there of course.
Is it your background, through growing up there, that led to the moral indignation that seems to show in your writing?
Well yes of course, the same as any writer anywhere - writers in Eastern Europe under various forms of ... oppression - their writing is strongly informed by it. People like [Milan] Kundera, people like the poet Czeslaw Milosz, [Boris] Pasternak, [Aleksandr] Solzhenitsyn.... If I had lived somewhere else I still would have been a writer. I obviously would have written about different things.
Do you regard your stories and novels as more than just writing but as a form of social activism?
No, I don't regard them as a form of social activism ... except in so far as I think every piece of writing, every piece of fiction, is an implicit criticism or exploration of society.