Nadine Gordimer’s First Publication in VQR
Considered among the most important authors in the world, Nadine Gordimer began her international career in 1951, when she received her first letter of acceptance for publication in an American magazine, the Virginia Quarterly Review. Editor Charlotte Kohler chose her short story “The Catch” for publication in the Summer issue of that year. As Gordimer mentions in her correspondence with Kohler, “Publishers both in South Africa and in America want to see a novel from me, but I don’t know if I can write the kind of novel I want to write.” Her career since has demonstrated that she could write such novels, and indeed continues to.
From the 1960s on, Gordimer became an active commentator on South African politics through her writing and international activism. Affiliating herself with the African National Congress, she encouraged her audiences and government to abolish the institution of apartheid. Her position on the matter caused the South African government to ban several of her works. Her writings were recognized by the international community when she was awarded the 1974 Booker Prize, the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature, and the 2007 Legion of Honor, among many other accolades.
Presented here exclusively is the original manuscript of Gordimer’s story “The Catch,” complete with the original correspondence between Kohler and Gordimer. The first letter is from Gordimer’s agent, Sidney Satenstein, to Charlotte Kohler.
Reprinted with the author’s permission. Copyright © 2007 by Nadine Gordimer.