/ 12 November 2021

Lewis Nkosi Selected Milestones: Writing and Honours (COMPILED BY SANDILE NGIDI)

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Lewis Nkosi, 1936-2010, left South Africa in 1961 to spend the next 30 years in exile after being denied leave to return. (Photo: Peter Schnetz)

1955 — To Herbert Dhlomo, poem published.

1958 — Athol Fugard’s No Good Friday, the Bantu Men’s Social Centre, Johannesburg: production team member.

1959 — Come Back Africa screenplay: co-writer with Bloke Modisane and Lionel Rogosin.

1961/62 — The Rhythm of Violence, stage play.

1962 — The Alien Corn, short story.

1962-1965 — BBC radio series Africa Abroad: producer, transcription centre

1962-1965 — NET radio series African Writers of Today, US: moderator and interviewer.

1963 — The Promise, short story.  

1963 — The Hotel Room, short story.

1964 — Publishes The Rhythm of Violence (Oxford University Press).

1965 — Publishes Home and Exile: Critical Essays (London: Longman).

1966 — Receives the Dakar World Festival of Negro Arts Prize.

1967 — The Prisoner, short story.

1969 — The Trial, short story broadcast on BBC Radio.

1970 — His 1967 stage play, Malcolm, revised as Virgin Malcolm Look Not So Pale, and directed by Lionel Ngakane.

1971 — The London Bach Society, Goldsmith College performs Lewis Nkosi’s The Chameleon and the Lizard (with a Zulu libretto).

1975 — Publishes The Transplanted Heart: Essays on South Africa (Benin City: Ethiope Publishing Corporation).

1982 — Images of a Nation Yet to Be, poem.

1983 — Refugee Woman, poem.

1983 — Publishes the novel Mating Birds (Nairobi: East Africa Publishing House).1983 — The Black Psychiatrist, play, premieres at the Theatre Playhouse, Lusaka.

1986 — Mating Birds listed in the New York Times’ 100 best books published in 1986 and is Channel 4’s Book of the Week.

1987 — Receives the Macmillan Silver Pen Award for his novel, Mating Birds.

1994 — Flying Home!, play, sequel to The Black Psychiatrist.

1999 — Publishes The Mountain in Transition (Vol 79), Indiana University Press,  Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University.

2002 — Underground People, novel, Kwela, Cape Town.

2006 — Mandela’s Ego, novel, Umuzi.

2006 — Receives the Literary Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by the South African Literary Awards.  

2013 — The Black Psychiatrist, staged at the Durban University of Technology Campus, directed by Professor Deborah Lutge.

Selected essays

Fiction by South Africans — first published in Black Orpheus (1966).

Alex La Guma: The Man and His Work — first published in The Transplanted Heart (1975).

Negritude: New and Old Perspectives — first published in Tasks and Masks: Themes and Styles of African Literature (Harlow, Essex: Longman, 1981).

White Writing — first published in Third World Quarterly (1989).

Bloke Modisane: Blame Me On History — first published in Southern Review of Books (1990).

The Republic of Letter After the Mandela Republic — first published in Journal of Literary Studies (December 2002).

Main sources

Stiebel, Lindy, and Gunner, Elizabeth. Still Beating the Drum: Critical Perspectives on Lewis Nkosi. Amsterdam: BRILL, 2005.

Starck-Adler, Astrid, and Henrichsen, Dag. Lewis Nkosi. The Black Psychiatrist | Flying Home!: Texts, Perspectives, Homage. Basler Afrika Bibliographien, Namibia Resource Centre & Southern Africa Library.

Nkosi, Lewis. Mating Birds Cape Town: Kwela Books, 2004.