Nadine Gordimer and the Hazards of Biography

Rachel Donadio in the New York Times:

Screenhunter_2_19Few relationships are as complex as that between a living author and his biographer. In a startling recent example, Nadine Gordimer — the South African writer who helped bring the world’s attention to the evils of apartheid and won the 1991 Nobel Prize for her efforts — had a bitter falling out with Ronald Suresh Roberts, the young biographer to whom she had granted extraordinary access during his five years of research. Since it appeared last year, Roberts’s biography, “No Cold Kitchen,” has been the talk of literary South Africa. This year it made the non fiction shortlist for the country’s highest literary accolade, the Sunday Times Alan Paton Prize, eventually losing to two AIDS memoirs.

How this author-biographer relationship ran aground is a drama as rich as any to come out of post-apartheid South Africa.

More here.