"Stories exist before their tellers come along"

Nobelprize- winner JM Coetzee answers the questions of Aftonbladets readers.

John Maxwell Coetzee.

Are there any Swedish writers that you enjoy to read?


-I admire Tomas Tranströmer immensely.

Dear Sir!

I read that you´re a keen fisherman, in that case, what´s your favorite fish?

Thanks in advance

Yours truthfully


- Don´t believe everything you read.

I am not a fisherman.

Hello Coetzee, and congratulation!

I´ve read that you always follow the cycling race Tour de France.

I wonder why you find that race so fascinating?

Do you support a certain rider, or team?

Thank you!


- The Tour de France is the greatest endurance race of all. I would support the Linda McCartney team (I forgot its name) if it were good enough to qualify for the Tour de France. In its absence, I support U.S.Postals because its preparations is so thourough and professional. Lance Armstrong is one of the great cyklists of all time, end the most technically perfect. I gained new respect for Jan Ullrich during the 2003 Tour.

Dear JM Coetzee and Aftonbladet!

I am a big admirer of you and your work. I have read that you teach at Adelaide University. Now to my question: is it possible for ”anyone” to take your classes, even me from Sweden? What do you teach and do you teach in a more traditional way or in a more modern way?

If it is possible, even if it is very hard, I´d be the first to come!

Best wishes and love

Kristel, 16 years old.

-I am afraid to say thet the only students I teach at the University of Adelaide are students working on doctoral thesis.

Please tell me which music will give you goosebumps? (There is probably a nice, scientific term for this reaction, but I couldn´t find it)

Thanks for some wonderful books


- The music of Bach, particulary the keyboard music.


I have heard that that you are vegetarian, that you are quite shy, rarely gives interviews and that you also likes to bicycle, and followed Tour de France with great interest.

Is it a coincidence that all these things also can be said about the German electronic popgroup Kraftwerk? I´m sure you must have heard about this before? Are you influenced by them before. Or are they by you?


- I am sorry to say I have never heard of Kraftwerk.

Mr Coetzee, do you think that writing is about inventing stories or just about telling them? Do storys exist without storytellers?


- In the old days no one tried to invent new stories. Art consisted in telling the old stories in a new way. Seen in this way, stories exist before their tellers come along.

Hello Mr Coetzee!

This is a question that does not relate to your writing (for a change?!) I am a 25 years old student, and I´m taking my soon to be wife to your Southafrica. Where would you, as a native Southafrican, recommend me to go as a first time tourist to you beautiful country?

Looking forward to Your reply

Kind regards


- Travel east from Cape Town into the Little Karoo – Montagu, Barrydale, Calitzdorp, Oudtshoorn. Then cross the Swartberg Pass into the Great Karoo. Spend a night in Prince Albert.