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Nobel Laureate attends Conference in Prato

South African novelist and Nobel Laureate J.M. Coetzee recently visited Monash’s Prato Centre during a three day conference - 'Reading Coetzee's Women'

Monash’s Prato Centre in Italy has played host to Nobel Laureate, J.M. Coetzee during a three day conference examining Coetzee’s female characters.

The conference 'Reading Coetzee's Women' was convened by Professor Sue Kossew and Dr Melinda Harvey, from Monash’s Literary Studies in the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics with significant support from Professor Rae Frances, Dean of Faculty of Arts and Professor Jakob Hohwy Associate Dean Research, Faculty of Arts.

Professor Sue Kossew said the conference was a fantastic opportunity to explore a rich but under-discussed area of Coetzee studies.

“The sheer number of fascinating papers submitted demonstrated the importance of this area of study, and were part of what made the conference such a success,” she said.

During the conference attendees were treated to a reading from Mr Coetzee from his newly-published novel, The Schooldays of Jesus, which was long-listed for the 2016 Man Booker Prize.

An original feature of the conference was a panel in which four of Coetzee's translators discussed the challenges of translating his work. The panel included; Franca Cavagnoli (Italian), Peter Bergsma (Dutch), Wang Jinghai (Chinese) and  Cristobal Perez Barra (Spanish), and was chaired by Prof Michael Hollington. Two of the translators who were unable to attend the conference sent in brief papers on their translating of Coetzee's work; Reinhold Boehnke who translates into German and Miguel Temprano Garcia who has translated The Childhood of Jesus into Spanish. Given the wide range of nationalities of the delegates and participants in the conference and its location at Monash's Prato Centre, a gateway to Europe and beyond, the panel was particularity appropriate, especially as Coetzee has a specific interest in translation and has written about his work in translation ("The Roads to Translation" article).