Willem Carel van der Merwe was born on 7 September 1963 in Johannesburg. He
attended schools in Johannesburg, Witbank and Cologne, Germany, and graduated
from Linden High School in 1981. After completing his military service, he
attended Stellenbosch University (1986 B.Acc degree) and the University of
Cape Town (1987 GDA). During this time he played lock for the Akker XV, the
first Stellenbosch University affiliated rugby team to compete in the then
black SARA rugby league.
Carel van der Merwe
Author of English and Afrikaans fiction and non-fiction
He completed his Chartered Accountant professional exams in 1988, and
thereafter worked at Arthur Andersen & Co, in Johannesburg and London. In 1991
he joined Rand Merchant Bank's Corporate Finance Division, and in 1995 he
co-founded African Merchant Bank. In 2000 he took up a position in London as an
executive director of Comparex, an international IT group. He lived and worked
in London for the next six years, completing a part-time MA (Writing) degree
(with distinction) during this time. In 2018 he received a Phd in History from Stellenbosch University.
In 2004 he published his first short story, The Water Mountains, in an UK short story collection. At the beginning of 2006 he returned to
South Africa and settled in Stellenbosch with his wife and two young daughters.
In 2007 he published his debut novels, Nasleep and No Man's Land, written by him in Afrikaans and English respectively. No Man's Land was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize, as well as the M-Net Literary Award, while Nasleep was shortlisted for the UJ Literary Prize. Nasleep was translated into Dutch and published in Holland in 2010. He also wrote his next novel in both languages, and Shark and Geldwolf were published in 2009.
Geldwolf was awarded the Eugene Marais Literary Prize by the SA Academy for Arts and Science and shortlisted for other literary prizes.
In 2015 he published his third novel, once again in Afrikaaans and English, as Skaduwee and Shadow respectively. He published Donker Stroom - Eugene Marais en die Anglo-Boereoorlog, his first non-fiction book, in 2015, a critically acclaimed study of Eugene Marais. It was awarded the Protea Boekhuis Prize, as well as the Kyknet-Rapport Prize and the L.W. Hiemstra Prize. It was also short-listed for the SALA non-fiction arward.In 2019 he published a biography of gen. Ben Viljoen, an enigmatic Boer War general.
He currently owns and manages an investment and advisory company, Grapetown Capital, and is the chairman of the Stellenbosch Heritage Trust.
Hobbies: Travelling, gholf, buying books, gym.
Favourite books: Disgrace (J.M. Coetzee)
Cloud Atlas (David Mitchell),
War and Peace (Tolstoy)
Atomised (Michel Houellebecq)
The Corrections (Jonathan Franzen)
The Glass Bead Game (Hermann Hesse)
The Magic Mountain (Thomas Mann)
Die groot verlange: Die verhaal van Eugene N. Marais (Leon Rousseau), Stoner (John Williams)
Favourite Quote: All happy families are like one another; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
Eugene Marais Prize 2010 for Geldwolf
Protea Boekhuis Prize 2016 2016 for Donker stroom - Eugene Marais en die Anglo-Boereoorlog
Kyknet-Rapport Prize 2017 for Donker stroom
L.W. Hiemstra Prize 2017 for non-finction Donker stroom
List of Prose fiction:
The Water Mountains (2004)
Nasleep (2007) / No Man's Land (2007)
Geldwolf (2009) / Shark (2009)
Skaduwee / Shadow, Umuzi, 2012
Donker stroom - Eugene Marais en die Anglo-Boereoorlog, Tafelberg, 2015
Kansvatter - Die rustelose lewe van Ben Viljoen, Protea, 2019
Text by Carel van der Merwe
www.StellenboschWriters.com © Rosemarie Breuer