Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumBrink - Credit: Nigel Beale
André Philippus Brink was born on 29 May 1935 in Vrede, then in the Orange Free State Province. His father was a magistrate and a pillar of Afrikaner society.  As a child, Brink spoke Afrikaans, only learning English later at school. When he started writing books in the 1950s he wrote in Afrikaans. Later he would write part of a book in Afrikaans and the rest of it in English. Today, he is also fluent in German and French.

In the 1960s Brink became a "Sestiger”, a “dissident” Afrikaner writer, alongside the likes of Breyten Breytenbach.


In the mid-1960s, drawn like other intellectual South Africans to Europe’s artistic “watering holes”, he set off for Paris and studied at the Sorbonne. With a fresh European perspective, his conviction that something was terribly wrong in his homeland was reinforced. He returned to South Africa and continued to write, using the written word as a weapon against Apartheid, just as Alexander Solzhenitsyn had done against the Communist dictatorship in Russia.

The first of his books to draw international attention was Looking on Darkness (1974); the original Afrikaans edition Kennis van die Aand was banned in South Africa, so Brink translated the novel himself into English.

Brink still lives in South Africa. Since 1991 he has been professor of English at the University of Cape Town.