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Richard Rive Biography

(1931–89), African Songs, Advance Retreat: Selected Short Stories, Selected Writings, Emergency, Emergency Continued

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: John Rhode to Jack [Morris] Rosenthal Biography

South African novelist and short-story writer, born in District Six, Cape Town, educated at the University of Cape Town, Columbia University (New York), and Magdalen College, Oxford. Rive lived mainly in South Africa, and held various teaching and academic appointments. Like his compatriot Alex La Guma, he chronicled the squalor and tension of township life arising directly from apartheid legislation in South Africa. He was particularly concerned with District Six, which was demolished by government fiat, and its mainly mixedrace population driven out. His short stories are collected in African Songs (1963) and Advance Retreat: Selected Short Stories (1983). Other stories, as well as plays and essays, are included in Selected Writings (1976). His first novel, Emergency (1964), told in flashback, traces the events which led to the Sharpeville massacre, and their effect on a young schoolteacher. Its sequel, Emergency Continued (1991), was published posthumously. Another novel, Buckingham Palace: District Six (1986), richly distils the author's vision of life, as experienced by the marginalized and dispossessed. Writing Black (1981) is an autobiographical memoir. Rive also edited Modern African Prose (1964), and The Letters of Olive Schreiner, vol. I, 18711899 (1988).

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