Human & Rousseau

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Author Focus

Joan Hambidge

Biographical info

Joan Helene Hambidge was born on 11 September 1956 in Aliwal North. She matriculated at Standerton High School. She was awarded the Beheerraadsmedalje as best scholar in 1974.
In 1979 she obtained a BA (Hons, cum laude) degree at Stellenbosch University. She completed her MA degree (cum laude) at the University of Pretoria under the supervision of Prof. Elize Botha and obtained a PhD at Rhodes University under Prof. André P Brink. She was a lecturer and later also professor at the University of the North, and since 1992 she has been at the University of Cape Town. In 2001 Joan was awarded her second doctorate degree, this time in cultural studies, at the University of Cape Town. She is at present a professor in Afrikaans and Creative Writing at the University of Cape Town. She holds currently the Hofmeyr Chair in Afrikaans.

Joan made her debut in 1985 with the volume of poetry Hartskrif, and received the Eugène Marais Prize in 1986 for her second volume Bitterlemoene. Her 22nd volume of poetry, Vuurwiel, appeared in February 2009.


Did you know?  

  • Joan's novel Sewe Sonjas en wat hulle gedoen het – in dialogue with Jan Lion Cachet's Sewe duiwels – is one of the first literary e-books to appear in Afrikaans.
  • In 2001 her novel Skoppensboer was shortlisted for the Sanlam/Insig Great Novel Competition.
  • In 2003 the La Rosa Spanish Dance Theatre staged a dance production called Elementos (among others at the KKNK). The first part of the production, Imagenes, is based on poems from Joan's volume Ewebeeld. The poems were sung and recited by Nicole Holm, accompanied by guitar, while being interpreted by flamenco dancers.
  • She has a blog Woorde wat weeg (blogspot).
  • She was appointed to the Council of the University of Stellenbosch in 2016.
  • Active reviewer and public intellectual.
  • An opera on Deon van der Walt (Anti-Laius) was staged in 2015 by Cape Town opera.
  • A volume of poetry Indeks will be published in 2016.

Books currently in print

Matriks, Human & Rouseau (2015)
, Human & Rousseau (2013)
Lot se vrou
, Queillerie (2012)
Visums by verstek, Tafelberg (2011)
, Human & Rousseau (2009)


Eugène Marais Prize (1986) – Bitterlemoene

ATKV prize 2012 for Visums by Verstek

List of titles

1985 Hartskrif, Human & Rousseau
1986 Bitterlemoene, Human & Rousseau
1987 Die anatomie van melancholie, Human & Rousseau
1987 Palinodes, HAUM-Literêr
1988 Geslote baan, Tafelberg
1989 Donker Labirint, Tafelberg
1989 Gesteelde appels, HAUM-Literêr
1989 Kriptonemie, Human & Rousseau
1990 Verdraaide raaisels, Human & Rousseau
1990 Die somber muse, Jutalit
1990 Tachycardia, Jutalit
1991 Die verlore simbool, Tafelberg
1995 Interne verhuising, Perskor
1997 Ewebeeld, Perskor
2000 Lykdigte, Tafelberg
2001 Ruggespraak, Protea Boekhuis
2005 Die buigsaamheid van verdriet, Protea Boekhuis
2006 En skielik is dit aand, Protea Boekhuis
2006 Dad, Genugtig
2008 Koesnaatjies vir die proe, Genugtig
2009 Vuurwiel, Human & Rousseau
2011 Visums by verstek, Tafelberg
2012 Lot se vrou, Queillerie
2013 Meditasies, Human & Rousseau
2015 Matriks, Human & Rousseau
2017 Indeks, Human & Rousseau
2018 The Coroner's Wife, Dryad Press (poems in translation)

1996 Swart koring, Human & Rousseau
1998 Die swart sluier, Tafelberg
1998 Judaskus, Perskor
2001 Sewe Sonjas en wat hulle gedoen het,
2008 Palindroom, Genugtig
2008 Kladboek, Protea Boekhuis


The Coroner’s Wife – English translations


1995 Postmodernisme, J.P. van der Walt

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Books By This Author