John Maxwell (J. M.) Coetzee is a novelist, essayist, linguist, translator and recipient of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature. Of South African origin, he is now an Australian citizen and lives in Adelaide, South Australia. Coetzee was born in Cape Town, Cape Province, Union of South Africa, on February 9, 1940 to parents of Afrikaner descent.
Coetzee spent most of his early life in Cape Town and in Worcester in Cape Province (modern-day Western Cape) as recounted in his fictionalized memoir, Boyhood (1997). Coetzee attended St. Joseph's College, a Catholic school in the Cape Town suburb of Rondebosch, and later studied mathematics and English at the University of Cape Town, receiving his Bachelor of Arts with Honors in English in 1960 and his Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Mathematics in 1961.
Coetzee relocated to the United Kingdom in 1962, where he worked as a computer programmer, staying until 1965. In 1963, while working in the UK, he was awarded a Master of Arts degree from the University of Cape Town for a dissertation on the novels of Ford Madox Ford. His experiences in England were later recounted in Youth (2002), his second volume of fictionalized memoirs.
Coetzee went to the University of Texas at Austin, in the United States, on the Fulbright Program in 1965. He received a PhD in linguistics there in 1969. His PhD thesis was on computer stylistic analysis of the works of Samuel Beckett. In 1968, he began teaching English literature at the State University of New York at Buffalo where he stayed until 1971. It was at Buffalo that he started his first novel, Dusklands. He then returned to South Africa to teach English literature at the University of Cape Town. Upon retiring in 2002, Coetzee relocated to Adelaide, Australia, where he was made an honorary research fellow at the English Department of the University of Adelaide.
Restrictions: Researchers must have the permission of Coetzee and the Curator of Manuscripts to see this collection. It is also Washington University policy to restrict the salary information in this collection.
Users of the collection must read and agree to abide by the rules and procedures set forth in the Materials Use Policies.
Providing access to materials does not constitute permission to publish or otherwise authorize use. All publication not covered by fair use or other exceptions is restricted to those who have permission of the copyright holder, which may or may not be Washington University.
If you wish to publish or license Special Collections materials, please contact Special Collections to inquire about copyright status at (314) 935-5495 or email@example.com. (Publish means quotation in whole or in part in seminar or term papers, theses or dissertations, journal articles, monographs, books, digital forms, photographs, images, dramatic presentations, transcriptions, or any other form prepared for a limited or general public.)
Acquisition Note: Source: Gift of Washington University Department of English. Accession 1735.
Preferred Citation:Name of the Collection, Washington University Libraries, Department of Special Collections