Damon Galgut

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Damon Galgut (1963-) is a South African novelist, playwright and actor.


Born in Pretoria on 12 November 1963, the son of a Jewish father and a mother who had converted to Judaism. He went to Pretoria Boys High School, where he was head boy and matriculated in 1981, after which he went to the University of Cape Town to study drama, graduating in 1988.


While still at Pretoria Boys’ High School, he wrote a play called No. 1 Utopia Lane, for which he won a prize at the 1981 SACEE One-act Play Festivals.

After school he continued writing plays as well as novels, beginning with the award-winning A Sinless Season in 1982, followed by A Small Circle of Friends (1988), The Good Doctor (2003), In a Strange Room (2010 - was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize), Arctic Summer (2014), and The Promise (winner of the Booker Prize [1] 2021).

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

After finishing high school he completed his National Service in the South African army, and was then appointed resident writer for PACT in Pretoria. He then left PACT to go abroad, returned to study at UCT after which he became an actor for CAPAB for a while and taught at the University.

As playwright

In this period he produced a number of other plays, including Echoes of Anger (1983), Alive and Kicking (1984), A Party for Mother (1986), Betraying Marriott (short listed for the Amstel Playwright of the Year award in 1989) and The Greens-keeper (1995).

As actor

As a student at UCT he acted in Dis Al (1987), The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail (1988), The Maids (1988), Three Sisters (1987). He has also appeared in Shakespeare's Macbeth (CAPAB 1989).

As director

He assisted as director in a production of The Caucasian Chalk Circle (1986) and directed Sizwe Bansi is Dead (1989), Master Harold ... and the boys (1995), Psychodelic Cowboy and Sister Nun at Chaplins Theatre Restaurant, March 1994.

[TH, JH]


De Beer, 1995

Gosher, 1988. [TH, JH]

NELM catalogue (re Amstel Award).

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