Writer’s Profile


Kobus Moolman was born in 1964 in Pietermaritzburg. He is a senior lecturer in English literature and creative writing in the Department of English at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg. He holds a PhD in English Studies from UKZN.

In 2014 he published his eighth collection of poetry, A Book of Rooms (deep south).

In 2013 he published Left Over (dye hard press). This collection was subsequently short-listed for the South African Literary award for poetry, and for the international Glenna Lushei Prize for African Poetry.

In the same year he received the Sol Plaatje European Union poetry award.

In the same year, he was the Mellon Writer in Residence at Rhodes University for three months, and he also published his most recent poetry anthology, Left Over (Dye Hard Press). The collection has been widely acknowledged as his strongest to date.

In 2012 he was commissioned by the Performing Arts Centre of the Free State to adapt      Zakes Mda’s the novel, The Madonna of Excelsior, for the stage. The production has       travelled to several theatres in the country, including the National Arts Festival in            Grahamstown and the State Theatre in Pretoria.

In 2010 he published Light and After (deep south press). The collection was launched at the 14th Poetry Africa festival in Durban.

In the same year he received the South African Literary Award for Poetry for his collection, Separating the Seas. Founded by the national Ministry of Arts & Culture, the South African Literary Awards honour South African literary practitioners, while encouraging the advancement of literary heritage and practice.

In 2010 he was a special guest, for two months, of the Creative Writing Research Group      of the University of Calgary in Canada. During this period he gave readings of his work      and lectured, including at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. He was also an invited     guest at the 2010 Calgary International Spoken Word Festival, during which time he      performed at the Banff Centre for the Arts and in Canmore.

In the same year he edited and published, Tilling the Hard Soil: poetry, prose and art by   South African Writers with Disabilities (University of KwaZulu-Natal Press). He was      also the invited dramaturge on a two-week residency for South African and Dutch       scriptwriters organized by the Twist Theatre Development Project during the National    Arts Festival in Grahamstown. He was invited back as dramaturge in 2011 and 2013.

In 2009 one of poems was nominated for a US Pushcart Prize.

At the beginning of 2008, he participated in a three-week collaborative residency at the Caversham Centre for Writers and Artists in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. During this residency he produced a limited edition, hand-bound collection of poems entitled Anatomy. This cycle of poems was later published in the Journal of Disability Studies (OhioStateUniversity).

It also won the Dramatic and Literary Rights (DALRO) Prize for the best poem to appear in New Coin magazine in 2008.

A collection of his radio plays, Blind Voices, was published by Botsotso Publishers in 2007. The collection is sponsored by the British Council and features a CD of the BBC production of his earlier award-winning play, Soldier Boy.

His fourth collection of poetry, Separating the Seas, was published by the UKZN Press in the same year.

In 2007 he was also named joint winner of the 2007 NLDTF/PANSA Festival of          Contemporary Theatre Readings of New Writing for his new play, Stone Angel. This is     the second time he has won this major South African award for theatre writing.

In the same year he was the chairperson of the selection committee for the Olive            Schreiner Poetry Prize sponsored by the English Academy of Southern Africa.  In           2008,  he was on the panel of adjudicators for the Ingrid Jonker award, and in 2009 he was a judge for the Thomas Pringle Award for Poetry.

He was the founding editor of the annual KwaZulu-Natal poetry journal, Fidelities, which ran from 1995 until 2007.  As co-ordinator of the Fidelities Poetry Project he conducted creative writing workshops and readings for a variety of interest groups, from offenders in prison to high school youth.  From 2000 to 2009 he edited the poetry titles for the University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, working on collections by Karen Press, Mxolisi Nyezwa, Kelwyn Sole and Makhosazana Xaba, amongst others.

In 2004 his play, Full Circle, was awarded the Jury Prize for Best Script in the             Performing Arts Network of South Africa (PANSA) Festival of Reading of New Writing.       The play premiered at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in 2005, directed by       Charmaine Weir-Smith, and was critically acclaimed. It was subsequently produced at   the Hilton College Theatre in Pietermaritzburg and at the Market Theatre in          Johannesburg. The play was also produced as part of the Southern African theatre            season at the Oval House Theatre in London in 2006.

The script was published in 2007 by Dye Hard Press.  And in 2008 it was produced by       the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

In 2004 he was commissioned by Bush Radio (Cape Town) to adapt Gomolemo Mokae’s short story, “Milk and Honey Galore, Honey” for the radio.

In 2003 he was a runner-up in the BBC African Performance radio drama competition. His winning play was produced for the BBC World Service. In the same year it was also read at the Moscow Theatre Festival of New Writing.

His collection, Feet of the Sky was published by Brevitas Press in 2003.

In 2001 he was one of five South African poets featured in a collection by Botsotso Publishers, entitled simply, 5 Poetry.

In 1998 he was awarded the Helen Martins Fellowship which enabled him to spend a month in the Karoo village of Nieu Bethesda working on an anthology of poetry.  This collection, entitled, Time like Stone was published by UKZN Press in 2000.

The collection was awarded the Ingrid Jonker Prize for 2001, the premier South African award for a debut anthology.

In 1992 he was a finalist in the Amstel Playwright of the Year Award.

He is the recipient of the BBC African Radio Theatre Award (1987), the Macmillan Southern African Playwriting Award (1991) and in 2000 he won a merit award in the Noupoort Reward for Playwriting.


2000. Time like Stone. Pietermaritzburg: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press.

2001. 5 Poetry. Johannesburg: Botsotso Publishers.

2003. Feet of the Sky. Howick: Brevitas Press.

2007. Separating the Seas. Pietermaritzburg: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press.

2007. Blind Voices: a collection of radio plays. Johannesburg: Botsotso Publishers.

2007. Full Circle. Johannesburg: Dye Hard Press.

2008. Anatomy. (Limited edition, illustrated chapbook.) Lidgetton: Caversham Press.

2010. Light and After. Grahamstown: Deep South.

2010. Tilling the Hard Soil: Poetry and Prose by South African Writers Living with Disabilities. Pietermaritzburg: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press.

2013.  Left Over. Johannesburg: Dye Hard Press.


Apart from leading literary journals and websites in South Africa and abroad, his work has also appeared in the following collections:


Soundings: an anthology of poems selected from the 1988 Sanlam Literary Award, edited by Douglas Reid Skinner, Carrefour Press (1989);

Twenty-Five Years of English South African Poetry, edited by David Bunyan, Institute for the Study of English in Africa (1989);

Let Me Be, compiled by David Dawson, Macmillan (1990);

The Heart in Exile: South African Poetry in English, edited by Leon de Kock and Ian Tromp, Penguin (1996);

It All Begins: Poems from Post Liberation South Africa, edited by Robert Berold, University of Natal Press (2002);

From Jo’burg to Jozi: Stories about Africa’s Infamous City, edited by Heidi Holland and Adam Roberts, Penguin Books (2002);

glass jars among trees, edited by Arja Salafranca and Alan Finlay, Jacana Media (2003);

Lovely Beyond any Singing: Landscapes in South African Writing, compiled and introduced by Helen Moffett, Double Storey (2006).

Durban in a Word: Contrasts and Colours in eThekwini, edited by Dianne Stewart, Penguin Books (2008).

Botsotso: an Anthology of Contemporary South African Poetry, edited by Allan Kolski Horwitz and Ken Edwards, Reality Street (2009).

Speaking for the Generations: an Anthology of Contemporary African Short Stories, edited by Dike Okoro, Africa World Press (2010).

The Walking Project: an anthology of poems by people with disabilities, edited by Carol Marfisi, Temple University (2010)

The Sol Plaatje European Poetry Anthology, compiled by Liesl Jobson, Jacana (2011)

The Ground’s Ear: Contemporary Verse from Southern Africa, edited by Frederick de Jager, Quickfox Publishing (2011).

Africa Inside Out: Stories, Tales and Testimonies, edited by Michael Chapman, UKZN Press (2012).

Unbreaking the Rainbow: Voices of Protest from the New South Africa, edited by Amitabh Mitra, Poets’ Printery (2012).

The Sol Plaatje European Poetry Anthology, compiled by Liesl Jobson, Jacana (2013)



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