Blacklaws, Troy 1965- (Troy Michael Douglas Blacklaws)

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Blacklaws, Troy 1965- (Troy Michael Douglas Blacklaws)

PERSONAL:

Born September 9, 1965, in Pinetown, Natal, South Africa; married; wife's name Daniela; children: Finn-Christian, Mia. Education: Rhodes University, B.A., 1987.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Singapore. Agent—Isobel Dixon, Blake Friedmann Agency, 122 Arlington Rd., London NW1 7HP, England. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Teacher of English in East London, South Africa; teacher in Stowe, England, 1993, and Sherborne, England, 1994-96; Frankfurt International School, Frankfurt, Germany, teacher, 1996-2000; Vienna International School, Vienna, Austria, teacher, 2000-03; Frankfurt International School, teacher, 2003-06; Singapore American School, Singapore, teacher, 2006—. Military service: Served in army for two years.

WRITINGS:

Karoo Boy (novel), Double Storey (Cape Town, South Africa), 2004, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2005.

Blood Orange (novel), foreword by Donald Woods, Double Storey (Cape Town, South Africa), 2005.

Blacklaws's work has been translated and published in Africaans, French, German, and Dutch.

ADAPTATIONS:

Film rights to Karoo Boy were sold to Videovision Entertainment. Blood Orange has been adapted to a one-man play by Craig Morris, Greig Coetzee and the author.

SIDELIGHTS:

Troy Blacklaws was born and raised in South Africa, and his first novel, Karoo Boy, reflects both the natural beauty of that country and the injustice of the apartheid system that remained official policy there for so long. Karoo Boy describes the coming of age of Douglas, a young white youth who lives in South Africa during the 1970s. When Douglas is fourteen, his twin brother is killed in a freak accident involving his father and a cricket ball. Devastated, Douglas is then uprooted from his home, moving with his mother from their seaside home to a small, inland town. Douglas's mother works on her art long hours, leaving her son on his own to cope with the tough local youth. Douglas struggles through adolescence, helped along the way by Marika, a rebellious girl who awakens his passions, and Moses, a gas-station attendant who serves as a father figure to the boy. Elizma Nolte, reviewing the book in the South Africa Times, called Karoo Boy an "easy reading sumptuous novel" in which the sights and sounds of South Africa are presented in a way that is "painfully beautiful, exaggerated into the romantic." Other reviewers pointed out that, although the book vividly evokes South Africa, it also transcends that country and its history to present universal truths. As Hazel Rochman stated in a Booklist review, even those with no knowledge of South Africa "will recognize the aching personal truth and political horror" depicted by the author.

Blacklaws' second published novel, Blood Orange, was actually written before Karoo Boy, but was not published until later. Blood Orange is narrated by a South African youth, Gecko. The novel follows Gecko as he comes of age, first in rural Natal and then in the Cape, and faces the threat of conscription into the South African army. "Gecko's disarming honesty and self-deprecating style lends authenticity to his adolescence and the resilience of youth," commented Caroline Hurry in the Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday Independent. She further noted: "Blacklaws has a way of capturing images and playing with words that add charm."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August, 2005, Hazel Rochman, review of Karoo Boy, p. 1989.

Library Journal, August 1, 2005, Ann H. Fisher, review of Karoo Boy, p. 65.

Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg, South Africa), April 16, 2004, interview with Troy Blacklaws.

Publishers Weekly, July 25, 2005, review of Karoo Boy, p. 42.

South Africa Times (London, England), September 21, 2005, Elizma Nolte, "Karoo Boy Sells Movie Script."

Sunday Independent (Johannesburg, South Africa), June 19, 2005, Caroline Hurry, review of Blood Orange.

Village Voice, August 15, 2005, Anderson Tepper, review of Karoo Boy.

ONLINE

LitNet,http://www.oulitnet.co.za/ (April 30, 2004), interview with Troy Blacklaws.