J. M. Coetzee

Possibly the coup of the Festival is getting the great South African writer here. Twice winner of the Booker Prize (for Life and times of Michael K in 1983 and Disgrace in 1999) and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2003, he was born in South Africa, descended from early Dutch settlers dating to the 17th century. He spent most of his early life in South Africa, coming to England in the 1960s, returning in the 1970s to the country of his birth. Retiring in 2002, he relocated to Adelaide.

Diary of a bad yearHe is not known for his public appearances (both times he didn't collect his Booker win in person) so it will be a rare chance for readers to see and hear this great author. Throughout his career he has been unafraid of controversy and this is amply seen in his latest book, Diary of a bad year, which is about a seventyish author whos writing a series of essays for a German publisher in which he attacks Australias anti-terror laws and treatment of asylum seekers among other things. Coetzee stands out as one of those writers who, in a publishing world increasingly devoted to trivia, isn't afraid to be seen as serious.