Ivan Vladislavic’s biography, fact, career, awards, net worth and life story

Intro South African writer
Is Writer
Short story writer
From South Africa


Gender male


Ivan Vladislavić (born 1957 in Pretoria) is a South African short story writer and novelist of Croatian origin. He lives in Johannesburg where he also works as an editor. In the eighties he worked as a fiction and social studies editor at Ravan Press. He was the assistant editor of Staffrider magazine for several years and compiled the commemorative anthology Ten Years of Staffrider with Andries Oliphant. He is the author of the highly praised novels, The Folly (1993) and Double Negative (2013), as well as award-winning non-fiction, Portrait with Keys (2006).

List of works

Vladislavić’s style is postmodern, intermingling fantasy with references to historic events, enabling them to signify with symbolic meanings both within a South African context and beyond. His is a distinctively individual voice.

  • Missing Persons [Collection of short stories, 1989]
  • The Folly [Novel, 1993]
The Folly, situated in an apparently recognisable world, describes the building of a house from string, but the relevance extends to considerations of the imagination and to a satire of the political notion of constructing a new world. The novel received the CNA Literary Award.
  • Propaganda by Monuments [Collection of short stories, 1996]
  • The Restless Supermarket [Novel, 2001]
The Restless Supermarket is the etymologically dazzling story of Johannesburg suburb Hillbrow’s makeover from frayed Euro-café society to shabby Afro-soul. Through the withering scorn of Aubrey Tearle, the novel’s chief crank, we visit the dramatic moment – somewhere in the early 1990s – when these two worlds collide, often with hilarious results. The book is due to be republished in England in 2014 through And Other Stories Publishing.
  • The Exploded View [Sometimes referred to as a collection of short stories. Vladislavić himself considers this work to be a novel in four parts, set in and around Johannesburg, Random House, 2004]
The Exploded View is composed of four interlinked stories that focus on art and architecture: the places people choose to live and the things they seek to create, while his skill at handling subtle social commentary and political satire is evident throughout.
  • Willem Boshoff [An extended essay on the work of this conceptual artist, David Krut Publishing, 2005]
  • Portrait with Keys was published in June 2006, and is an archive of writings on a small segment of Johannesburg that has been walked, observed and reflected upon over the years by the author. Portrait with Keys consists of 138 numbered short texts, each addressing life in Johannesburg. The time frame stretches from recollections of the late 1970s to the immediate present. The protagonist is, in most instances, Ivan Vladislavić himself, although there are dozens of other characters with whom he shares encounters and interactions. In June 2007 Vladislavić won the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award for Nonfiction for Portrait with Keys. The judges called it a masterpiece and found it indicative of a trend among South African nonfiction to look “inwards in order to examine the outwards.”
  • TJ & Double Negative [Novel with photographs by acclaimed South African photographer David Goldblatt, 2010]. Vladislavić’s text was later published without images in South Africa (2011) and in the UK (2013, with an introduction by Teju Cole) as Double Negative.
  • Flashback Hotel: Early Stories [Collection of short stories, 2010]
  • The Loss Library [Collection, 2012] In these stories and essays, Vladislavić examines lost fictions – stories that go missing or are never completed.
  • A Labour of Moles [Illustrated novella, 2012] Illustrated and designed by Sunandini Banerjee, “A Labour of Moles” is Book 17 in the Cahiers Series published by Sylph Editions: “The goal of this series is to make available new explorations in writing, in translating, and in the areas linking these two activities.”
  • 101 Detectives [collection of short stories, 2015]
  • [1]


  • Steyn, Jan. Interview with Ivan Vladislavić. The White Review, August, 2012. [1]
  • De Kok, Ingrid. Ivan Vladislavić: The Restless Supermarket. World Literature Today – January 1, 2002.
  • De Vries, Fred. Joburg’s ambiguity mirrored in Portrait, The Weekender, 9 September 2006
  • Jooste, Pamela. In Conversation with Ivan Vladislavić. LitNet, March 2005 [2]
  • Warnes, Christopher. Interview with Ivan Vladislavić. Modern fiction studies, 46 (1) Spring, 2000: 280.
  • Interview with Ivan Vladislavić on The Ledge, an independent platform for world literature. Includes excerpt and audio.

Awards and honors

  • 1991 Olive Schreiner Prize winner for Missing Persons
  • 1993 CNA Literary Award winner for The Folly
  • 1994 Thomas Pringle Prize winner for two stories, Propaganda by Monuments and The WHITES ONLY Bench
  • 1997 Noma Award for Publishing in Africa honourable mention for Propaganda by Monuments
  • 2002 Sunday Times Fiction Prize winner for The Restless Supermarket
  • 2007 Sunday Times Alan Paton Award for Nonfiction winner for Portrait with Keys: Joburg & What-What
  • 2007 University of Johannesburg Prize winner for Portrait with Keys: Joburg & What-What
  • 2009 Warwick Prize for Writing long-listed for Portrait with Keys
  • 2011 University of Johannesburg Prize winner for Double Negative
  • 2011 M-Net Literary Awards winner for Double Negative
  • 2015 Windham–Campbell Literature Prize (Fiction) valued at $150,000
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  • “Prize Citation for Ivan Vladislavić”. Windham–Campbell Literature Prize. February 24, 2015. Retrieved February 25, 2015.