Human & Rousseau

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Author Focus

Karel Schoeman

Biographical info

Karel Schoeman was born on 26 October 1939 in Trompsburg in the Free State. He matriculated in 1956 at Paarl Boys' High School. In 1959 he obtains a BA degree in languages from the University of the Free State. In 1961 he joined the Franciscan Order in Ireland as novice for the priesthood, but then returned to Bloemfontein to obtain a Higher Diploma in Library Studies.

Before returning to South Africa in 1983 he had worked as among other a librarian in an Amsterdam library and nurse in Glasgow, Scotland. He worked from 1983 till his retirement in 1998 as archivist at the South African National Library in Cape Town. He lives in Bloemfontein.

He is not only known as novelist, but also as historicist and translator. He has won the Hertzog Prize for prose three times: in 1971 (By fakkellig, 'n Lug vol helder wolke and Spiraal), 1986 ('n Ander land) and in 1995 (Hierdie lewe). He has won the Recht Malan Prize for nonfiction four times. His autobiography, which was published in 2002, is called Die laaste Afrikaanse boek.

Did you know?

· He was baptised Tromp, but later had it changed to Karel.
· The movie Promised Land (2002, directed by Jason Xenopoulos) is an adaptation of his novel Na die geliefde land.
 

Author bookshelf

Bloemfontein: die ontstaan van 'n stad (Reprinted 2010)
Titaan (2009)
Na die geliefde land, Human & Rousseau (2007)
'n Ander land, Human & Rousseau (2006)
This Life, Human & Rousseau (2005)
Hierdie lewe, Human & Rousseau (2003)
Die laaste Afrikaanse boek, Human & Rousseau (2002)

Awards

Hertzog Prize for Prose (1970) - By Fakkellig, 'n Lug vol helder wolke en Spiraal
CNA Prize (1972) - Na die geliefde land
Recht Malan Prize for Non-fiction (1983) - Vrystaatse Erfenis
Old Mutual Prize (1984) - 'n Ander land
WA Hofmeyr Prize (1985) - 'n Ander land
Hertzog Prize for Prose (1986) - 'n Ander land
Helgaard Steyn Prize (1988) - 'n Ander land
SABC Prize for Best Television Drama (1990) - Op die grens
Old Mutual Prize (1991) - Afskeid en vertrek
CNA Prize (1994) - Hierdie lewe
Hertzog Prize for Prose (1995) - Hierdie lewe
M-Net Prize (1997) - Verkenning
Stals Prize for Cultural History from the South African Academy for Arts & Science (1997)
Recht Malan Prize for Non-fiction (1998) - Dogter van Sion
State President Award: Order for Excellent Service (1999)
Honorary doctorate from the University of Cape Town (2000)
Recht Malan Prize for Non-fiction (2002) - Armosyn van die Kaap
Recht Malan Prize for Non-fiction (2003) - Die laaste Afrikaanse boek
Honorary doctorate from the University of the Free State (2004)
Le Prix du Meilleur Livre étranger – for Cette vie (the French translation of Hierdie lewe) (2011) 

List of titles

Prose (published by Human & Rousseau)
1964 By fakkellig
1965 Veldslag
1967 'n Lug vol helder wolke
1968 Spiraal
1971 Op 'n eiland
1972 Na die geliefde land
1975 Die noorderlig
1976 Om te sterwe
1977 Afrika: 'n roman
1979 Die hemeltuin
1980 Die reisiger
1981 Waar ek gelukkig was
1984 'n Ander land
1990 Afskeid en vertrek
1993 Hierdie lewe
1995 Die uur van die engel
1996 Verkenning
1998 Verliesfontein
2009 Titaan: 'n Roman oor die lewe van Michelangelo Buonarroti

Non-fiction: Biographies, Historical works, Autobiographis, Travel writings
(Published by Human & Rousseau unless indicated otherwise)
1966 Berig uit die vreemde, ’n Ierse dagboek
1968 Van ’n verre eiland; ’n tweede Ierse dagboek
1969 Lig in die donker
1973 Eroica
1975 Besoek… ’n Teks vir beeldradio
1975 Gode, helde en konings; middeleeuse verhale
1975 Somerpaleis
1976 Finn en sy mense; die avonture van die fianna van Ierland
1976 Die hart van die son
1976 Die jare… ’n teks vir beeldradio
1977 Koninkryk in die noorde; ’n boek oor Skotland
1978 Onderweg; reisherinnerings
1978 Die walskonings
1980 Bloemfontein: die ontstaan van ’n stad 1846-1946
1982 Die dood van ’n Engelsman: die Cox-moorde van 1856 en die vroeë jare van die Oranje-Vrystaat
1982 Vrystaatse erfenis: bouwerk en geboue in die 19de eeu
1983 In liefde en trou: die lewe van president M.T. Steyn en mevrou Tibbie Steyn met ’n keuse uit hul korrespondensie
1984 Bibliografie van die Oranje-Vrystaat tot 31 Mei 1910
1986 Die wêreld van die digter: ’n boek oor Sutherland en die Roggeveld ter ere van N.P. van Wyk Louw
1987 Bloemfontein in beeld: 1860-1910
1989 Olive Schreiner: ’n lewe in Suid-Afrika, 1855-188
1992 Only an anguish to live here: Olive Schreiner and the Anglo Boer-War, 1899-1902
1994 Irma Stern: the early years, 1894-1933, South African Library.
1994 Die kort sendingloopbaan van Sophia Burgmann, 1805-1812, Suid-Afrikaanse biblioteek
1995 Die moord op Hesje van der Merwe, 19 Oktober 1837, Hantam Huis.
1995 Die wêreld van Susanna Smit, 1799-1863
1996 J.J. Kirchener en die vroeë sending, 1799-1806
1997 Dogter van Sion: Machtelt Smit en die 18de-eeuse samelewing aan die Kaap, 1749-1799
1998 Merksteen
1999 Armosyn van die Kaap: Voorspel tot vestiging, 1415-1651
1999 Stamland: ’n reis deur Nederland
2001 Armosyn van die Kaap: Die wêreld van 'n slavin, 1652-1733
2002 The Griqua Captaincy of Philippolis, 1826-1861, Protea Boekehuis.
2002 Die suidhoek van Afrika, Protea Boekehuis.
2002 Die laaste Afrikaanse boek
2003 Early White Travellers in the Transgariep 1819–1840, Protea Boekehuis.
2004 ’n Duitser aan die Kaap, 1724-1765: die lewe en loopbaan van Hendrik Schoeman, Protea Boekehuis.
2005 The Early Mission in South Africa / Die Vroeë Sending in Suid-Afrika, 1799-1819, Protea Boekehuis
2006 Kinders van die Kompanjie: Kaapse Lewens uit die Sewentiende Eeu, Protea Boekehuis
2007 Early Slavery at the Cape of Good Hope, 1652-1717, Protea Boekehuis
2008 Patrisiërs en Prinse: Die Europese Samelewing en die Stigting van 'n Kolonie aan die Kaap, 1619-1715, Protea Boekehuis
2009 Seven Khoi Lives: Cape Biographies of the Seventeenth Century, Protea Boekehuis
2009 Handelsryk in die Ooste. Die wêreld van die VOC, 1619–1685, Protea Boekehuis
2010 Kolonie aan die Kaap, Protea Boekehuis 
2010 Bosmans van Drakenstein, 1705-1842, Protea Boekehuis
2011 Riviereland, Protea Boekehuis
2011 Cape Lives, Protea Boekehuis

Translations

Na die geliefde land (1972)
English (Promised land, 1978) and French (Retour au pays bien-aimé, 2006)

'n Ander land (1984)
English (Another Country, 1991), Dutch (Een Ander Land, 1992), German (In einem fremden Land, 1993) and French (En étrange pays, 2007)

Olive Schreiner: 'n lewe in Suid-Afrika (1989)
English (Olive Schreiner: A Woman in South Africa, 1991)

Afskeid en vertrek (1990)
English (Take Leave and Go, 1992) and French (La Saison des Adieux, 2004)

Hierdie lewe (1993)
English (This Life, 2005) and French (Cette Vie, 2009)

Merksteen (1998)
Dutch (Merksteen: Een Dubbelbiografie, 2004)

Reviews

"It is one of the most powerful and moving tales imaginable. […] There is a strong meditative quality to the work, as well as a sombre lyricism, reflected in the cadence and rhythm which is more often seen in poetry than prose. I found it quite beautiful, and strongly recommend that it be read in either language." - Beverley Roos Muller on This Life, Cape Argus (2005)

"Schoeman's haunting, evocative prose manages to turn a fairly simple storyline into compelling reading." - Laura Chalar, on This Life, http://www.laurahird.com/newreview/thislife.html, 2006

Books By This Author