Born in South Africa, Breyten Breytenbach is a distinguished poet, painter, novelist, playwright, essayist and human rights activist. A committed opponent of apartheid in South Africa, Professor Breytenbach established the resistance group ‘Okhela’ and from 1975-1982, he was a political prisoner in South African prisons serving two terms of solitary confinement.
Breytenbach’s paintings portray surreal human and animal figures, many of whom are shown in captivity. He has had solo exhibitions of his artwork in numerous cities around the world including, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Hong Kong, Stockholm, Paris, and Edinburgh. Professor Breytenbach has been honored with numerous literary and art awards, including the APB Prize, CAN Award (five times), Allen Paton Award for Literature, Rapport Prize, Hertzog Prize, Reina Prinsen-Geerling Prize, Van der Hoogt Prize, Jan Campert Award and Jacobus van Looy Prize for Literature and Art. Professor Breytenbach has taught at the University of Natal, Princeton and the University of Cape Town, and he has been a visiting professor in the Graduate Program in Creative Writing at NYU since 1999.