The Hertzog prize is the greatest literary honour the Academy for Arts and Science can bestow on Afrikaans writers. Its list of previous winners include great names like André P Brink (twice), NP van Wyk Louw, Elisabeth Eybers, Antjie Krog and Breyten Breytenbach (three times).
It was in fact Breytenbach who voiced a commonly held view in 2009 when he publicly asked: “Waar is Adam Small se Hertzogprys?” (Where is Adam Small’s Hertzog prize?). Small is the first non-white writer to be awarded the prize. Having done his most important work in the 60s and 70s, the award is seen to be a corrective on the exclusion of the past.
Authoritative literary historian and critic JC Kannemeyer considered him worthy of a place among the best international playwrights, based mainly on his drama Kanna hy kô hystoe (Kanna comes home). Small often wrote phonetically in the dialect known as Kaaps, especially spoken by the coloured population of Cape Town. Besides his work as playwright, he is also a prominent poet, professor of philosophy and leader on various cultural and social terrains. This year he celebrates his 75th birthday.
The Tydskrif vir Letterkunde published a special Adam Small edition.
source: Poland, we congratulate Adam Small.