BORN: November 20, 1923, Springs, Transvaal, South Africa
IDENTIFICATION: One of the most significant English-language writers in South African history and an outspoken critic of injustice in her country.
SIGNIFICANCE: Nadine Gordimer's novels, short stories, and essays deal primarily with the moral crisis of a South African society structured according to the system of apartheid (legalized racial segregation), the society she herself grew up in and struggled to reform. Her work combines the political and the personal. Drawing on the lives of South Africans of all races and backgrounds, she weaves tales that have to a considerable extent shaped the worlds perception of her homeland. Gordimer is one of only nine women and is the first South African ever to have received the Nobel Prize in literature (1991). Together, her novels and her nonfiction have won her an international reputation.