Recommended books for high school students in the 11th Grade, aged 16-17. Over the course of a year, these stories should provide inspirational reading material, and also challenge pupils to think independently. Authors include James Agee, Saul Bellow, Alice Seebold, and Alice Walker.
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Alan Paton Biography
Alan Stewart Paton (11 January 1903 – 12 April 1988) was a South African author and anti-apartheid activist.
His works include the novels Cry, the Beloved Country and Too Late the Phalarope.
Cry, The Beloved Country has been filmed twice (in 1951 and 1995) and was the basis for the Broadway musical Lost in the Stars (adaptation by Maxwell Anderson, music by Kurt Weill). Paton’s second and third novels, Too Late the Phalarope (1953) and Ah, but Your Land is Beautiful (1981), and his short stories, Tales From a Troubled Land (1961), all deal with the same racial themes that concerned the author in his first novel. Ah, but Your Land is Beautiful was built on parallel life stories, letters, speeches, news and records in legal proceedings, and mixed fictional and real-life characters, such as Donald Molteno, Albert Luthuli and Hendrik Verwoerd. The novel is categorized as historical fiction, as it gives an accurate account of the resistance movement in South Africa during the 1960s. “Paton attempts to imbue his characters with a humanity not expected of them. In this novel, for example, we meet the supposedly obdurate Afrikaner who contravenes the infamous Immorality Act. There are other Afrikaners, too, who are led by their consciences and not by rules, and regulations promulgated by a faceless, monolithic parliament.”
Paton was a prolific essay writer on race and politics in South Africa. In Save the Beloved Country he plays on the famous title of his first novel, but keeps a serious tone in discussing many of the famous personalities and issues on different sides of South Africa’s apartheid struggle. His Anglican faith was another factor in his life and work: the title of one works is Instrument of Thy Peace. Paton also wrote two autobiographies: Towards the Mountain deals with Paton’s life leading up to and including the publication of Cry, the Beloved Country (an event that changed the course of his life) while Journey Continued takes its departure from that time onwards. He also wrote biographies of his friends Jan Hendrik Hofmeyr (Hofmeyr), and Geoffrey Clayton (Apartheid and the Archbishop). Another literary form that interested him throughout his life was poetry; the biographer Peter Alexander includes many of these poems in his biography of Paton.
Publications of Paton’s work include a volume of his travel writing, The Lost City of the Kalahari (2006), and a complete selection of his shorter writings, The Hero of Currie Road.
The Alan Paton Award for non-fiction is conferred annually in his honour.
(Above text reprinted under Creative Commons Licence from Wikipedia.)
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