Elsa Silke was born in 1951 and matriculated at Paarl Girls’ High School. She studied at the University of Stellenbosch where she majored in English and French. After completing a teacher’s diploma, she spent a number of years teaching high-school English. She later returned to the University of Stellenbosch for an Honours degree in English and in 2004 was awarded the degree MPhil in Translation. Since then she has been working as a freelance editor and translator, chiefly of literary texts. She is also a part-time lecturer in literary translation at the University of Stellenbosch. In 2006, she was awarded the SATI/Via Afrika Prize for outstanding translation in the fiction category, for This Life, a translation of Karel Schoeman’s Hierdie lewe. In 2009 she received the same award, this time in the non-fiction category for Charlize – Life’s One Helluva Ride, a translation of Chris Karsten’s Charlize – Ek leef my droom. She has two sons and a daughter, and she and her husband live in the Strand.