Agent: Isobel Dixon
Biography: South African writer, lecturer and one time actor, now living in Paris. Author of seven books, almost all of them at the frontier between prose and poetry and concerned with the memory of South Africa at the time of apartheid. These include The House Next Door to Africa (David Philip), as well as, from Jacana: We Walk Straight So You Better Get Out the Way, best-selling I Remember King Kong (the Boxer), the poetry collection Gardening In the Dark; the novel The Dancing and the Death on Lemon Street (short-listed for the Commonwealth Book Prize, 2012) and White Scars, a lyrical meditation on reading and its significance in our lives, runner-up for the South African Sunday Times Alan Paton Non-Fiction Prize in 2007.
Added to this list is Hirson’s succinct history of South African literature from the 19th Century to 1994, World in One Country, original in that it covers prose, poetry and plays. This book is one more sign of Hirson’s wider involvement in the world of South African writing. Translator of Breyten Breytenbach’s poetry into English, concerned in one way or another with South African literary events and publications in French, he is also the editor of three anthologies, one of prose - The Heinemann Anthology of South African Short Stories - and two of poetry covering the period 1960-2013, The Lava of this Land (Northwestern University Press) and In the Heat of Shadows (Deep South).
Hirson’s ten conversations with William Kentridge, Footnotes for the Panther, came out with Fourth Wall in September 2017. His first book in French, Ma langue au chat, followed from Le Seuil one month later, describing the torture and delight of speaking and writing in French.