Odds and quads - 18 April 2013

April 18, 2013

These items come from the archive of the Nobel prizewinning novelist J. M. Coetzee, which was acquired by the Harry Ransom Center, the humanities research library and museum at the University of Texas at Austin, in 2011. One of the photographs shows the author visiting the university the year before.

Born in South Africa in 1940, Coetzee studied at the University of Cape Town and then worked in England for three years as a computer programmer before moving to the University of Texas for his PhD, drawing on the Ransom Center’s Samuel Beckett material for his dissertation. His novels include Life and Times of Michael K (1983), which he wrote in stacks of exam books bound together in cardboard and wire, and Disgrace (1999). Both works won the Man Booker Prize, making Coetzee the first writer to receive the award twice.

Now living in a part of Australia prone to bush fires, Coetzee is delighted that his archive - 140 boxes of documents, 13 oversized boxes and one galley file - has been preserved for posterity where it stands no risk of damage.

Send suggestions for this series on the treasures, oddities and curiosities owned by universities across the world to matthew.reisz @tsleducation.com

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