Damon Galgut, a playwright, is a novelist and playwright who lives in Cape Town. He was born in Pretoria, South Africa in 1963. Small Circle of Beings (1988) was a collection of short stories. This was followed by The Beautiful Screaming of Pigs (91), the story of a young South African soldier who experiences a nervous breakdown. The Quarry (1995) was made into a movie by a Belgian production house. He is recently been declared as the Booker price winner for ‘The Promise’.

The Good Doctor, his novel set in post-Apartheid South Africa explores the awkward friendship between two very different men in rural, deserted hospital. It was nominated for the 2003 Commonwealth Writers Prize, Africa Region, Best Book and shortlisted for both the 2003 Man Booker Prize for Fiction as well as the 2005 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. The Impostor (2008) followed it.

His most recent novels include In a Strange Room (2010) which was shortlisted for Man Booker Prize 2010 Fiction and Arctic Summer (20).

Damon Galgut

Damon Galgut

Damon Galgut Biography

Damon Galgut, a well-known novelist, was born in South Africa on November 12, 1963. Galgut was born in Pretoria in South Africa in 1963. Galgut’s family was of European descent and had strong ties with the South African judiciary. Galgut was six years old when he was diagnosed with cancer. He describes this trauma as the “central, cataclysmic incident of my life.” Galgut fell seriously ill and spent much of his childhood in hospital. As he lay in hospital, his love for storytelling developed. According to Astrologers Damon Galgut is Capricorn.

In a Strange Room was nominated for the 2010 Booker Prize in fiction. The Guardian reviewer was impressed and stated that “I doubt if any 2010 book will contain more memorable evocationss of place than In a Strange Room.”

Galgut is the author of several plays and has also taught drama at University of Cape Town. Galgut has lived in Cape Town since the 1990s. He enjoys traveling and wrote much of The Good Doctor at a Goa hotel. He described himself as “obsessed with yoga” and, for a time, he didn’t own a car or a television.

Damon Galgut Career and Life

Galgut was born in Pretoria (South Africa) in 1963. Galgut’s family was of European descent and had strong ties with the South African judiciary. Galgut was six years old when he was diagnosed with cancer. He describes it as the “central, cataclysmic incident of my life”. Galgut fell seriously ill and spent much of his childhood in hospital. As he lay in hospital, he discovered a passion for storytelling.

Galgut, who matriculated in 1981 as a Pretoria Boys High School head boy, was a pretoria Boys High School student.

Galgut studied drama at the University of Cape Town. Galgut was just 17 years old when A Sinless Season was published in 1982. His fight with cancer was fictionalized in his next book, Small Circle of Beings (1988), which contains short stories about his experiences. The Beautiful Screaming of Pigs (1991), won the CNA Prize. This is South Africa’s most prestigious literary award. The Quarry (1995), was made into a feature-length film with a 1998 release. In 2020, a second feature film version of The Quarry was released.

Galgut’s work was first published in 2003 with The Good Doctor. The Good Doctor is the story of two characters from a rural, post-apartheid South Africa hospital. It was enthusiastically received and praised by critics. The book was nominated for the Booker Prize 2003, and won the Commonwealth Writers Prize Africa Region for Best Book.

Galgut is the author of several plays and has also taught drama at University of Cape Town. Galgut has lived in Cape Town since the 1990s. He enjoys traveling and wrote much of The Good Doctor at a Goa hotel. Galgut describes himself as “obsessed with yoga” and has never owned a car nor a TV. Galgut is a “fate around stationery”. He prefers to write longhand on notebooks rather than using a computer or typewriter. He then copies it to the computer after completing two drafts. Since he was around 20, he has been using a tortoiseshell Parker fountain pen.

In a Strange Room, his novel was shortlisted to the 2010 Booker Prize in fiction. Jan Morris, a Guardian reviewer, was impressed and stated that “I doubt if any 2010 book will contain more memorable evocations about place than In a Strange Room.” It was described as “beautiful” and “strikingly conceived, and hauntingly written,” by the review.

The Promise, his novel, won the 2021 Booker Prize. Galgut is the third South African writer to win the Booker Prize, after Nadine Gordimer, and J. M. Coetzee who won it twice. Galgut says that the book’s theme is time. Galgut was talking to a friend about his father, mother, brother, sister, and brother’s funerals. This conversation led to the original idea for the book.

Damon Galgut wins 2021 Booker Prize for fiction

South African author Damon Galgut has won the £50,000 Booker Prize for “The Promise” (EUR58.750), beating out a field that also included Richard Powers, a previously shortlisted author.

South African novelist and playwright, he wrote his first novel at the age of 17 and was awarded the Sunday Times Fiction Prize 2015 for “Arctic Summer”.

Galgut admitted that it had taken him a while to reach this point, and that he is “stunned” that he won the award. Galgut also dedicated the prize for African writers. He said, “I would like this to be accepted on behalf of all stories…that come from this amazing continent.”

His most recent novel tells the story of a white South African farming clan over four decades, which are interrupted by a death in their clan. The dying wish or promise of the matriarch is to give a house on the property to the Black woman who worked her entire life for the family. The children are unsure if they should follow their mother’s wishes.

Galgut stated that apartheid has been defeated, but that apartheid remains. He spoke to The Irish Times about the novel’s central theme. “The laws of apartheid have been removed from the statute books.” The economy, however, keeps everyone exactly where they were.

Damon Galgut Awards and honours

  • 2003: Commonwealth Writers Prize(Africa Region and Best Book) shortlist for The Good Doctor
  • 2003: Booker Prize shortlist for The Good Doctor
  • 2005: International Dublin Literary Award shortlist for The Good Doctor
  • 2009: Commonwealth Writers Prize (Africa Region, Best Book) shortlist for The Imposter
  • 2010: Booker Prize shortlist for In a Strange Room
  • 2015: Walter Scott Prize, shortlist, Arctic Summer
  • 2015: Barry Ronge Fiction Prize, winner, Arctic Summer
  • 2021: Booker Prize for The Promise

Damon Galgut’s Works

  • A Sinless Season (Jonathan Ball, 1982)
  • Small Circle of Beings (Constable, 1988)
  • The Beautiful Screaming of Pigs (Scribners, 1991; 1992 CNA Award)
  • The Quarry (Best Film 1998 Montreal Film Festival)
  • The Good Doctor (Atlantic Books, 2003)
  • The Impostor (Atlantic Books, 2008)
  • In a Strange Room (Atlantic Books, 2010)
  • Arctic Summer (2014)
  • The Promise (2021)

Damon Galgut Plays

  • Echoes of Angers
  • Party for Mother
  • Alive and Kicking
  • The Green’s Keeper