"On the Contrary: André Brink and his Oeuvre"
A conference at the University of Pretoria, 22, 23 March 2013
If there is one thread running through André Brink's oeuvre, it is his characters' consistent rejection of the status quo. Whether they confront the world of the church, of the apartheid state, of patriarchy, of colonial legacy, or of the new dispensation in South Africa, they insist on saying, along with Estienne Barbier, "on the contrary" (from the novel by the same title), and on not accepting anyone else's representation of the world. It is an attitude which can be ascribed not only to all of Brink's characters but also to their author.
In his work, Brink interrogates power, violence, and inequality by probing silences: those of the past and those which threaten the new, democratic dispensation in South Africa. He is a consummate story-teller whose ability to penetrate those silences has enthralled readers around the world. But above all, at the heart of his writing lies the human condition as he turns to love, myth and history for inspiration.
We invite contributors to engage with the complexity of the Brink oeuvre: the tensions between his conventional conservative upbringing and his later cultural and literary multilingualism which so vividly find expression in his work; his own contributions to literary studies as a scholar and critic; his experimentation with narrative techniques, form and content; the generic variety of his work, recognised and acclaimed in the fields of drama, youth literature, the novel, biography, travel writing and other forms of non-fiction (as varied as coffee-table books on brandy and dessert wine, or photography); and the multifaceted aspects of his novels which range from historical to contemporary, realist to magic-realist, political to allegorical.
Papers should be a suitable length for reading in 20 minutes. Proposals (of up to 500 words) should be submitted to:
Deadline for submission of proposals: 30 November 2012.
Please include a short biographical note with your proposal.