Veggie novelist Coetzee wins Nobel Prize
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2003:
STOCKHOLM–South African novelist and advocate of
vegetarianism J.M. Coetzee was on October 1 named winner of the 2003
Nobel Prize for Literature.
The award is to be presented in Stockholm on December 10 by
Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden. The date is the anniversary of the
death of Alfred Nobel, who endowed the Nobel Prizes with his profit
from inventing dynamite.
“Coetzee has long been hailed as a powerful and
controversial, if often oblique, commentator on the ravages of
apartheid,” wrote Jennifer Schuessler, deputy editor of the Ideas
section of the Boston Globe. But his most recent novel, Elizabeth
Costello, raises “another unsettled and unsettling question,”
“By raising billions of animals a year in often squalid
conditions before brutally slaughtering them for their meat and
skin, are we all complicit in a ‘crime of stupefying proportions’?
Those words are Costello’s, whose two lectures on animal rights
–‘The Philosophers and the Animals’ and ‘The Poets and the
Animals’– make up the longest section of the book. The
preoccupation is very much Coetzee’s own, and has moved increasingly
close to the moral center of his work.”
“In 1997-98,” Schuessler recalled, “Coetzee delivered these
chapters as the prestigious Tanner Lectures in Human Values at
Princeton. They were published separately in 1999 as The Lives of
Coetzee described his response to social pressure to eat meat
in an essay called “Meat Country,” published in the Winter 1995
edition of the British literary quarterly Granta.