Former UB Faculty Member Coetzee Wins Nobel Prize

Release Date: October 2, 2003 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- J.M. Coetzee, a faculty member in the Department of English at the University at Buffalo from 1968-71 and Butler Professor of English at UB in 1984 and 1986, has been named winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Coetzee, who is on the faculty of the University of Adelaide in Australia, last lectured at UB a year ago when he delivered the Edward H. Butler Chair Prose Reading as part of the "Wednesdays at 4 PLUS" series. In conjunction with his appearance, the University Libraries organized an exhibit of his work in Lockwood Library.

An assistant professor of English when he was on the UB faculty, he was arrested with the "Buffalo 45" during the 1970 on-campus protests that followed the Kent State shootings.

Coetzee was offered a permanent full professorship as the Butler Chair in English at UB in the early 1970s and 1980s, but declined, noting that a permanent academic position in the United States would take him too far from his political concerns in South Africa. He was on the faculty of the University of Capetown before moving to Australia last year.

One his students at the University of Capetown was Shaun Irlam, Ph.D., now chair of the UB Department of Comparative Literatures at UB. Coetzee returned to UB in 1984 and 1986 as Butler Professor of English and received a SUNY Honorary Doctor of Letters degree at UB's commencement in 1989.

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