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“I’m a Lucky Man”: Ivan Vladislavic on His Distinguished Professorship at Wits and Windham Campbell Prize

Ivan Vladislavić, who was recently awarded the 2015 Windham Campbell Prizes for Fiction, says he is enjoying his new post in the Wits University Creative Writing Department.

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Vladislavić was born in Pretoria, and studied at Wits over 40 years ago. He is a renowned editor, and has long been considered one of Johannesburg’s most important writers of place, although international recognition of his work has been slower to develop. He told Wits Vuvuzela that he was “ready to give back some of the knowledge”.

Vladislavic said: “The energy of Braamfontein is fascinating and I love the way that Wits has helped to shape the urban development of Braamfontein, with projects such as WAM.” He sees Wits’ help in urban development as a positive factor in his decision to join the Wits team.

The Windham Campbell Literature Prizes come with award money of $150,000 (about R1.7 million), but Vladislavić says the attention the prize has brought is equally rewarding.

“The prize is already attracting attention to my books, which is wonderful news for me and my publishers. The money is very welcome too. For most of my working life, I’ve been a freelancer and it hasn’t always been easy to make ends meet. Two extraordinary things have happened to me recently: I took up a distinguished professorship at Wits and now I’ve won this prize. Together these two strokes of good fortune will allow me to pursue my own work in a way that’s never been possible before. I’m a lucky man,” he told BDlive.

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