Eleanor Elizabeth Baker was born on August 21 1944 and matriculated at F.H. Odendaal High in Pretoria. She obtained a masters degree in Afrikaans from the University of Pretoria in 1968 with honours, and focused in her dissertation on the novel. Eleanor’s first novel, Wêreld sonder einde, was published in 1972. Her husband, Walter, was in the diplomatic service and they lived in Teheran, The Hague, Montreal and Brussels.
She wrote 15 novels, two plays and several youth novels in her career. Die kwart-voor-sewe-lelie was nominated in 1991 for the Old Mutual prize for literature, while Verbeelde werklikheid reached the short list of the M-Net book prize in 1996. Daar is spore op die maan won the SA Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns’ Scheepers prize in 1992 and the book was also prescribed for schools.
She died on July 1 2002 at the age of 57. Her last book, Die Ander Marta, was published in October 2002.
She wrote 30 love stories under the pseudonym Christine le Roux and wrote five spy novels as Alex Muller. One of her love stories, Die ontbrekende helfte (Le Roux), won the Ela Spence medal for light fiction in 1996.
Did you know?
- Baker’s stay overseas was often the inspiration for her novels. Her travel book As ’n pou kon vlieg (1980), tells the story of their stay in Iran. During this time the revolution broke out and the Shah had to flee the country in 1978. Her son Alexander was born in Teheran, and she was far pregnant with her daughter Christine when she had to flee the country.
- She was one of four writers selected to participate in the TV1 project Vierspel in 1993 and 1995. Every writer had to write a script that was based on the same basic premise, and each script was directed by a different director. In 1986 Baker’s Weerkaatsings was published as a serial in the Danish magazine Allers and in a Finnish magazine.
- A stage adaptation of Die ander Marta debuted in 2005 at the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees in Oudtshoorn.
DIe ander Marta (reissue, 2012)
Christine le Roux: Christine le Roux Omnibus 10, (2008)
Alex Muller: Rooi Angelier, (1999)
List of titles
1972 Wêreld sonder einde
1980 As 'n pou kon vlieg
1981 ’n Geslote boek
1981 D.F. Malherbe: Mens en meester (biography) 1983 Die Nels van Groenewoud (youth novel) 1984 Weerkaatsings: ’n sprokie
1985 Dossier van ’n gyseling
1988 Die kwart-voor-sewe-lelie
1991 Daar is spore op die maan (jeugboek) (youth novel) 1991 In die middel van die Karoo
1993 Die nes
1996 Verbeelde werklikheid
1998 Groot duiwels dood
2001 ’n Ou begin
2002 Die Ander Marta
2006 Eleanor Baker Omnibus (Die kwart-voor-sewe-lelie and In die middel van die Karoo)
2008 Eleanor Baker Omnibus 2 (Die nes and Wêreld sonder einde)
Vierspel I (1993)
Vierspel II (1995)
FAK-Helpmekaar Prize for light fiction (1984) – Weerkaatsings
Scheepers Prize for youth literature (1992) – Daar is spore op die maan
- Eleanor translated Weerkaatsings to English as Reflections in 1986. It was also translated in Swedish (Leva på lånad tid, 1987), Hebrew, Danish and Finnish.
- Groot Duiwels Dood, about the Anglo Boer war, was translated in Dutch and was published in 2000 as Geschroeide Aarde by De Groot Goudriaan.