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Mark Gevisser is one of South Africa's leading authors and journalists. His latest book, Lost and Found in Johannesburg: A Memoir is about his personal relationship with his home-town Johannesburg. It is published by Farrar Straus & Giroux (US), Granta (UK) and Jonathan Ball Publishers (SA). It was shortlisted for the Jan Michalski Prize for Literature in 2014. Mark is currently working on a book, for Farrar Straus & Giroux, about the new global conversation about sexuality and gender identity, and how this is changing the way people think about themselves and their worlds. He received an Open Society Fellowship to research this book, which will be published in 2016.

Mark's last book, A Legacy of Liberation: Thabo Mbeki and the Future of the South African Dream was published by Palgrave Macmillan in the UK, and by Jonathan Ball in South Africa under the title, Thabo Mbeki: The Dream Deferred. It was the winner of the Sunday Times 2008 Alan Paton Prize and was lauded by the Times Literary Supplement as "probably the finest piece of non-fiction to come out of South Africa since the end of apartheid".

Mark was born in Johannesburg in 1964, and educated at King David and Redhill Schools. He graduated from Yale in 1987 with a degree magna cum laude in comparative literature and worked in New York, as a high school teacher and writing for Village Voice and The Nation, before returning to South Africa in 1990. His journalism has appeared in publications and journals including Granta, the New York Times, Vogue, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Foreign Affairs, Public Culture, Foreign Affairs and Art in America. He currently writes most regularly for The Guardian in the UK and the Mail & Guardian and the Sunday Times in South Africa.

Mark has previously published two books - Defiant Desire, Gay and Lesbian Lives In South Africa (Routledge, 1994), which he co-edited with Edwin Cameron, and Portraits of Power: Profiles in a Changing South Africa (David Philip, 1996), a collection of his celebrated political profiles from the Mail & Guardian.

 

He has also published widely, in anthologies, on sexuality and on urbanism in South Africa. His publications on art include a biographical essay on Nicholas Hlobo and a response to William Kentridge and Gerhard Marx's "The Firewalker". He had also published a recent essay on Thabo Mbeki's legacy

Mark's feature-length documentary, The Man Who Drove With Mandela, made with Greta Schiller, has been broadcast internationally, and won the Teddy Documentary Prize at the Berlin Film Festival in 1999. The film is an excavation of the life of Cecil Williams, the South African gay communist theatre director. Mark has also written scripts for the South African drama series Zero Tolerance; his scripts were short-listed for SAFTA and iEmmy awards.

Since 2002, Mark has also been involved in heritage development. He co-led the team that developed the heritage, education and tourism components of Constitution Hill, and co-curated the Hill's permanent exhibitions. He is a founder and associate of Trace, a heritage research and design company; his most recent projects have included Joburg Tracks, currently on exhibition at MuseumAfrica. Mark also works as a political analyst and public speaker; his clients have included several South African and multinational organisations and corporations.

From 2009 to 2011, Mark was Writing Fellow in the Humanities Faculty at University of Pretoria, where he taught in the journalism programme and ran a programme on public intellectual activity. He is an experienced writing teacher, and has conducted narrative non-fiction workshops in South Africa, Kenya, and, most recently, Uganda for Commonwealth Writers. In 2011, he was a Carnegie Equity Fellow at Wits University, and convened a major event at the university on "Creativity and Memory", featuring Nadine Gordimer, William Kentridge, Hugh Masekela, Zoe Wicomb and Chris van Wyk.

Mark currently lives in Cape Town.

 


© Ellen Elmendorp | Cape Town, 18 January 2014

 
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