October 3, 1989
On the first day of her two-day visit, Gordimer met with classes and spoke informally to students in the Josselyn Living Room. When asked why she wrote, she replied, “It’s the one thing I can really do. The compulsion to write is an attempt to make some sense of life. That’s what art really is.” Asked about how she found her subjects, she replied that, in South Africa, her subjects chose her. “The whole fabric of in South Africa is so intense, if you are a writer, the subjects come beating on your door.” The Miscellany News
Active in the African National Congress from its earliest, illegal days and the author of three books banned by the apartheid government, Gordimer was a close friend of Nelson Mandela. She won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1991 and in later decades was active in HIV/AIDS causes.
Helen Forster Novy was a painter and a philanthropist in the areas of education, community health and the arts.