Human & Rousseau

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Author Focus

Abraham H. de Vries

Biographical info

Abraham Hermanus de Vries was born on 9 February 1937 in Ladismith in the Western Cape. He matriculated at Ladismith High School and studied at Stellenbosch University and the Gemeentelijke Universiteit van Amsterdam. He obtained doctorate degrees from both universities.

He was arts editor of Die Vaderland from 1963 to 1965. He often toured abroad, and also lectured at various European universities during his career. He also lectured at the Universities of Port Elizabeth, Rhodes and Natal, and finally at the Peninsula Technikon in Cape Town. Until his retirement in 1997 he was Head of the Languages and Communication Department, and also started the Journalism Department.

He is one of the beloved and respected short story writers in Afrikaans.

Did you know?

· Abraham de Vries received freedom of Ladismith in 1997 on his sixtieth birthday. He was the first resident to be awarded this distinction.
· The short-story collection Soms op ’n reis was published in 1987 to commemorate his fiftieth birthday, while the collection Elke slot ’n weerbegin was published in 1997 to commemorate his seventieth birthday.
· He was the director of two television videos about the poets Adam Small and Hendrik Januarie.
· He was a member of the Afrikaans Writers' Guild and was also the chairperson of this writers' organisation. Later he was also chairperson of the Afrikaans Writers' Association.


He wrote three thrillers under the pseudonym Thys van der Vyver: Swart Sirkel (1961), Mense agter glas (1965) and Alibi van ’n verdagte (1972)

Author bookshelf

Verbeel jou dis somer, Human & Rousseau (2009)
Die Afrikaanse kortverhaalboek, Human & Rousseau (2004, 2012) 
Tot verhaal kom, Human & Rousseau (2003)


Reina Prinsen Geerligs Prize (1962) – For his first three books
Eugène Marais Prize (1967) – Vliegoog
Perskor Prize (1974) – Briekwa
De Kat/Potpourri Prize for short stories (1989) – Die Bruid
RAU Prize for creative writing (2004) – Tot verhaal kom
Patrick Petersen Memorial Award (2005) – For his contribution to the Afrikaanse Skrywersvereniging
South African Literary Award (SALA) (2010) – For his lifelong contribution to literature for his oeuvre 

List of titles

Short stories
1956 Hoog teen die heuningkrans
1957 Verlore erwe
1961 Vetkers en neonlig
1964 Dubbeldoor
1965 Vliegoog
1966 Dorp in die Klein Karoo
1968 Twee maal om die son
1972 Volmoed se gasie
1973 Briekwa
1975 Bliksoldate bloei nie
1977 Die Klein Karoo
1980 Die uur van die Idiote
1987 Soms op ’n reis
1989 Nag van die clown
1994 Plaaswinkel naby oral
1997 Skaduwees tussen skaduwees
2002 Op die wye oop Karoo
2003 Tot verhaal kom, Afrikaanse kortverhale
2005 Verhale uit ’n koel voorhuis
2006 Rooikoos Willemse is soek
2007 Onder hoë sterre
2009 Verbeel jou dis somer

1958 Proegoed

1966 Kruispad: ’n novelle

Travel stories
1965 Die rustelose sjalom
1966 Afspraak met eergister
1968 Joernaal uit ’n gragtehuis

1977 Kort keur (samesteller, heruitgegee in 1978, 1986 en 1988)
1978 Die Afrikaanse kortverhaalboek (samesteller, heruitgegee in 1980, 1985, 2004, 2012)
1989 Steekbaard (samesteller)
1989 Op die wyse van die taal (mede-redakteur)
1996 Eeu: Honderd jaar van Afrikaanse kortverhale (samesteller)
1998 Kort vertel
2000 Uit die kontreie vandaan, bundel kontreiverhale (samesteller) 2000
2007 Alles goed en wel: lagstories na willekeur


  • 1977 “Das Mädchen mit der BH-pistole” in Moderne Erzähler der Welt by Peter Sulzr
  • 1987 “The girl with the bra pistol” in Armed Vision compiled by Martin Trump
  • 1987 “Tin soldiers don’t bleed” in A Land Apart compiled by André P. Brink and J.M. Coetzee
  • 2007 “Ruins” in Omnibus of a Century of new South African Short Stories compiled by Michael Chapman

Books By This Author