" 'I take up my spade and I dig': Verwoerd, Tsafendas and the Position of the Writer in the Early Fiction of Ivan Vladislavić"

2011. In Gaylard (ed), Marginal Spaces: Ivan Vladislavic (Wits University Press), pp.46-70.

This essay begins by sketching the relationship between Vladislavić’s ‘early fiction’ and his more recent work, linking two short stories in particular to certain biographical information and emphasising the claim that an artistic preoccupation with Hendrik Verwoerd’s death is a form of generational marker. It elaborates on the question of Vladislavić’s generational ‘affiliation’ by considering the ways in which his work resists being labelled as either ‘apartheid era’ or ‘post-apartheid’ literature. Finally, it analyses the ways in which the two stories in question, “The Prime Minister is Dead” and “Tsafendas’s Diary”, signal the announcement of a writing ‘position’ by making creative use of the problem of inheriting ‘whiteness’ in South Africa.