Literary Legacies to the South African TRC: Fictional Journeys into Trauma, Truth and Reconciliation

Francesca Mussi

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Since the 1970s, truth and reconciliation commissions have become increasingly popularised as options for addressing historical injustices, especially within the context of dictatorial regimes. Of the many truth commissions to date, the South African TRC has been the one that has captured public attention throughout the world, providing a model for subsequent truth commissions. The South African TRC has also constituted and still constitutes an intriguing source for writing. Literary Legacies of the South African TRC explores the capacities of fiction for providing the TRC and people's testimonies with a productive afterlife, for challenging definitions of trauma, truth and reconciliation, for inviting readers to keep the dialogue about the past open, and to think actively about the strategies adopted in addressing that past and their implications in the present. It explores these capabilities as evidenced in the work of a wide range of writers, some known to international Anglophone readers including J.M. Coetzee and Nadine Gordimer, some less well-known, including Afrikaans-language novelist Marlene van Niekerk, and others from a new generation including Marli Roode, Kopano Matlwa, and Thando Mgqolozana. The book aims to contribute to discourses of trauma, truth-telling, and reconciliation from a literary perspective, as well as placing emphasis on the profound interconnection between fiction, history, and trauma in conflict and post-conflict areas such as South Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages259
ISBN (Electronic)9783030430559
ISBN (Print)9783030430573, 9783030430542
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2020

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