South African novelist Andre Brink dies

South African novelist Andre Brink dies

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JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Prolific author, Andre Brink, who used his work to question the policies of South Africa's apartheid regime, has died, his publishers said Saturday. He was 79 years old.

Brink died aboard a KLM flight travelling from the Netherlands to the South African city of Cape Town on Friday evening, the South African Press Association reported. Brink was travelling from Belgium, where he was receiving an honorary doctorate from the Catholic University of Louvain.

In his speech during the ceremony, Brink spoke about the importance of questioning, said Eloise Wessels, head of NB Publishers.

"That is how he lived and that same search underpinned all his writing," Wessels said in an email to The Associated Press.

Brink made his debut in 1962, and soon became part of a literary movement, along with poet Ingrid Jonker and fellow author Breyten Breytenbach, who used the Afrikaans language to oppose the apartheid regime.

His 1975 book, "Looking on Darkness," the first of Brink's books distributed to the United States, was banned by the South African government until 1982. Brink wrote his novels in English and Afrikaans, in an attempt to buck censorship.

Internationally, Brink was nominated for a Nobel Prize in Literature several times, according to NB publishers. Brink was twice shortlisted for the prestigious Man Booker prize, in 1976 for his book "An Instant in the Wind," and again for his 1978 novel "Rumors of Rain." In 2012, he was long listed for the novel "Philida," his last.

His novel, "A Dry White Season," was turned into a 1989 film, starring Donald Sutherland, Susan Sarandon and Marlon Brando, who earned a nomination for an Academy Award for an actor in a supporting role.

Brink was born May 29, 1935 in the town of Vrede, in the central Free State province in South Africa. He was a playwright, literary critic, translator and academic, and wrote more than 25 novels and over a dozen plays, according to the publishers.

Brink is survived by his wife Karina, four children, and six grandchildren. He was working on another novel at the time of his death, said Wessels.

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