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Pan Macmillan

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Craig Higginson Wins University of Johannesburg Prize for The Landscape Painter

The Landscape PainterPan Macmillan is delighted to announce that Craig Higginson, playwright and author, is this year’s winner of the prestigious University of Johannesburg Prize for South African Writing in English for his most recent novel, The Landscape Painter.

Craig Higginson is the Literary Manager of the Market Theatre in Johannesburg and teaches creative writing at the University of the Witwatersrand. In February 2010, Craig’s novel Last Summer was released to critical and popular acclaim, followed by the release of The Landscape Painter in March 2011. Higginson is also well known as a playwright. The Girl in the Yellow Dress has had sold-out seasons at the Grahamstown Arts Festival, the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town and the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh. His first play, Dream of the Dog, appeared at the Trafalgar Studios in London’s West End in a sold-out production featuring Janet Suzman.

Description of The Landscape Painter:

It is winter in London in 1947. When Arthur Bailey, an elderly painter who lives alone, catches sight of a young woman, Felicity, about to move into the neighbouring bed-sit, he is stirred to recall in haunting detail a long-suppressed narrative.

The Landscape Painter is a double tale of obsession, betrayed trust and irrepressible hope, which emerges as Arthur’s story unfolds. As a young, brilliant landscape painter he travelled to South Africa in 1898 in pursuit of his best friend’s sister, the beautiful and mysterious Carwyn Hamilton. Carwyn’s subsequent shocking betrayal led Arthur down a dark path of humiliation and haunted him for the next fifty years.

As Arthur delves ever deeper into his most intimate thoughts and desires, the past and present come together in a series of surprising turns and parallels and we meet a range of memorable characters – from the malevolent German governess, Miss Klimt, to Carwyn’s flirtatious and increasingly senile grandmother, Mutti. Finally, Arthur is forced to confront Felicity with the irreducible damage done to him.

From the gold-crazed streets of early Johannesburg to the epic battlefields of the Anglo-Boer War, and the austerity of post-Second World War Britain, The Landscape Painter is a spectacular historical novel packed with wit and insight and crafted in Higginson’s lyrical and sinuous but surgical prose.

“Craig Higginson is one of the most exciting and talented younger writers in the country, bringing with him a remarkable blend of free-ranging imagination and superlative narrative control. His sense of time and place is stunning and with his story-telling sleight of hand he is set to conquer the world of fiction.”
Andre Brink

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