100 World Class South Africans: Lauren Beukes

2013-05-23 12:00

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A mind of her own

‘It rhymes with mucus or, if you prefer, George Lucas.’ Lauren Beukes’s answer to foreign journalists who ask how her surname is pronounced gives a taste of her humour and creative mind.

Beukes’s first novel Moxyland marked her out as a writer quite unlike any other this country has produced.

Then 2010’s Zoo City made her world famous when it won the coveted Arthur C Clarke award for best science-fiction novel.

At the awards ceremony in London, Beukes went up on stage with a stuffed toy sloth attached to her – a witty reference to the character in her book.

She is presently working on the film script, as well as writing graphic novels (for the acclaimed Fables series by Vertigo) and has just released her third novel, The Shining Girls.

Known for tackling social issues in inventive, imaginative ways in her fiction, she says, ‘I twist reality in my books to get a better perspective on it.’

Before all this, Beukes helped create SA’s first-ever animated TV series, Pax Afrika, and wrote for ZA News, Desmond Tutu’s The South African Story and Disney.

SA’s very own priestess of quirky cool, she is on first-name terms with many pop-culture icons, like cyberpunk creator William Gibson and comic writer Warren Ellis, and speaks at tech-culture conferences and literary festivals around the world.

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