The South African writer, Abraham Hermanus de Vries, was born on Tuesday the 9th of February, in 1937, in a small town and agricultural centre of the western Klein Karoo called, Ladismith. He matriculated at Ladismith High School and went on to study at Stellenbosch University as well as the Gemeentelijke Universiteit van Amsterdam. He acquired doctorate degrees from both of the universities.

From 1963 to 1965, Abraham worked as the art editor for a Johannesburg newspaper titled, “Die Vaderland.” On numerous occasions during his career, Abraham H. de Vries would tour abroad and lecture at several European universities. De Vries would go on to lecture at some of South Africa’s most prestigious universities such as the Universities of Port Elizabeth, Rhodes, as well as, Natal. Finally, until his retirement in 1977, he lectured at the Peninsula Technikon in Cape Town and whilst lecturing, he was Head of the Languages and Communication Department and would go on to establish the Journalism Department.  

Interesting facts about Abraham H. De Vries

  • On his 60th birthday in 1977, Abraham H. De Vries was the first resident to be awarded the distinction of freedom of Ladismith.
  • To commemorate his 50th birthday, the short-story Soms op n Reis was published, while the collection Elke Slot n Weerbegin was published on his 70th birthday.
  • He directed two television videos on Adam Small (an Afrikaans writer that was involved in the Black Consciousness Movement) and Hendrik Januarie (an Afrikaans poet).
  • He was the chairperson and member of the Afrikaans Writers Guild


He wrote three thrillers under the pseudonym Thys van der Vyver: Swart Sirkel (1961), Mense agter glas (1965) and Alibi van ’n verdagte (1972)

Author bookshelf

Verbeel jou dis somer, Human & Rousseau (2009) 
Die Afrikaanse kortverhaalboek, Human & Rousseau (2004, 2012) 
Tot verhaal kom, Human & Rousseau (2003)

List of titles

Short stories

1956 Hoog teen die heuningkrans
1957 Verlore erwe
1961 Vetkers en neonlig
1964 Dubbeldoor
1965 Vliegoog
1966 Dorp in die Klein Karoo
1968 Twee maal om die son
1972 Volmoed se gasie
1973 Briekwa
1975 Bliksoldate bloei nie
1977 Die Klein Karoo
1980 Die uur van die Idiote
1987 Soms op ’n reis
1989 Nag van die clown
1994 Plaaswinkel naby oral
1997 Skaduwees tussen skaduwees
2002 Op die wye oop Karoo
2003 Tot verhaal kom, Afrikaanse kortverhale
2005 Verhale uit ’n koel voorhuis
2006 Rooikoos Willemse is soek 
2007 Onder hoë sterre
2009 Verbeel jou dis somer


1958 Proegoed

1966 Kruispad: ’n novelle

Travel stories

1965 Die rustelose sjalom 
1966 Afspraak met eergister 
1968 Joernaal uit ’n gragtehuis


1977 Kort keur (samesteller, heruitgegee in 1978, 1986 en 1988) 
1978 Die Afrikaanse kortverhaalboek (samesteller, heruitgegee in 1980, 1985, 2004, 2012) 
1989 Steekbaard (samesteller) 
1989 Op die wyse van die taal (mede-redakteur) 
1996 Eeu: Honderd jaar van Afrikaanse kortverhale (samesteller) 
1998 Kort vertel
2000 Uit die kontreie vandaan, bundel kontreiverhale (samesteller) 2000
2007 Alles goed en wel: lagstories na willekeur


1977 “Das Mädchen mit der BH-pistole” in Moderne Erzähler der Welt by Peter Sulzr

1987 “The girl with the bra pistol” in Armed Vision compiled by Martin Trump

1987 “Tin soldiers don’t bleed” in A Land Apart compiled by André P. Brink and J.M. Coetzee

2007 “Ruins” in Omnibus of a Century of new South African Short Stories compiled by Michael Chapman


Reina Prinsen Geerligs Prize (1962) – For his first three books
Eugène Marais Prize (1967) – Vliegoog
Perskor Prize (1974) – Briekwa
De Kat/Potpourri Prize for short stories (1989) – Die Bruid 
RAU Prize for creative writing (2004) – Tot verhaal kom 
Patrick Petersen Memorial Award (2005) – For his contribution to the Afrikaanse Skrywersvereniging
South African Literary Award (SALA) (2010) – For his lifelong contribution to literature for his oeuvre

Further reading list

Collections in the Archives