|About the Book|
Etienne Roché van Heerden grew up in a dual medium household. After matriculating he decided to join the navy, but since he is blind in the right eye, was not called up for combat duty. Instead he served as a dog handler, playing his alsatian at major festivals.Van Heerden initially studied law, and was admitted to the South African Side Bar as attorney. He freelanced as deputy sheriff for the Civil Court, and moved about in the townships around Cape Town, dispensing civil summonses and learning a great deal about life in these suppressed communities. As a young practitioner, his clients were mostly from the black and coloured crime-ridden communities around Cape Town.Van Heerden also lectured Legal Practice at the Peninsula Technikon and spent two years in advertising. At age thirty, with the birth of his eldest daughter, Van Heerden left the routine of a budding Cape Town advertising agency. He and his family relocated to northern Natal where he started out on his academic career in Literature at the University of Zululand. His PhD was a study on engagement and postmodernism.During the eighties he was member of a group of Afrikaans writers secretly meeting the banned ANC of Mandela and exiled writers at the (now famous) Victoria Falls Writers’ Conference, held in Zimbabwe.He regularly teaches at universities in Europe, and has been Writer in Residence at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, and the University of Antwerp in Belgium. He was a member of the University of Iowa’s prestigious International Writing Program in 1990, and has been back on visits to this university, of which he is an Honorary Fellow in Writing. He regularly reads his fiction at events such as the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland, the Winter Nights Festival in the Hague, Netherlands, the Time of the Writer Festival in Berlin, Germany, the Zimbabwe Book Fair and other festivals and events internationally.Van Heerden now teaches at the University of Cape Town, where he is the Hofmeyr Professor in the School of Languages and Literatures, and chairs the Afrikaans and Netherlandic Studies Section. He is also the brain behind the literary e-zine LitNet.Van Heerden is married to Kaia, a practising doctor, and lives in Stellenbosch. The couple has two daughters, Imke and Menán.