South African author, poet and playwright, Stephen Gray dies aged 78

South African poet and novelist Stephen Gray has died aged 78.

Over his career he published eight novels, several collections of poetry and a play. He also produced works looking into South African history and worked as an editor. Many of his novels dealt with themes of homosexuality and apartheid.

Among his works were the novels Local Colour (1975), Visible People (1977), Caltrop’s Desire (1980), Born of Man (1989), War Child (1994) and My Serial Killer and Other Short Stories (2005). His best known work was his 1988 novel Time of our Darkness which shared the story of a school teacher having a sexual relationship with an underage student.

The prolific author and critic was born in Cape Town in 1941. After graduating from St Andrew’s College he went on to study at the University of Cape Town, before undertaking post graduate studies at Cambridge University in England and the University of Iowa. He was awarded a doctorate from Rand Afrikaans University where he held the position of Professor of English until 1992.

During his academic career he was a writer in residence at the University of Queensland, and held fellowships at several universities around the globe. Alongside his successful career as a novelist he also wrote several acclaimed biographies. Beatrice Hastings: A Literary Life was one of the best selling books in South Africa in 2004, the following year he published Life Sentence: A Biography of Herman Charles Bosman. Bossman is considered to be South Africa’s greatest writer of short stories.

Gray passed away on 23rd October after a short illness. He is survived by his sister Marianne Gray who lives in London.

OIP Staff

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