Christopher Hope, Elinor Sisulu, Maxine Case, Beverly Rycroft and Anwar Mall

A well-written biography can have a lasting impact on its reader, providing insight, inspiration and even career guidance. In this course, four writers (including two biographers) and a bibliophile biochemistry professor discuss their favourite biographies. Novelist Christopher Hope takes on Vladimir Nabokov’s Speak, Memory; Elinor Sisulu lectures on Balm in Gilead: Journey of a Healer, the biography of pioneering African American scientist Margaret Lawrence; novelist Maxine Case turns her attention to Lady Anne Barnard; Beverley Rycroft delves into a controversial life as she discusses Janet Malcolm's biography of Sylvia Plath, and Anwar Mall shares the story of Marie Curie which set him off on a lifetime of medical research.



1. Vladimir Nabokov           Christopher Hope

2. Margaret Lawrence        Elinor Sisulu

3. Lady Anne Barnard         Maxine Case

4. Sylvia Plath                    Beverly Rycroft

5. Marie Curie                     Emeritus Professor Anwar Mall


Recommended reading

Curie, E. 2007. Marie Curie. New York: Doubleday.

Lawrence-Lightfoot, S.M. 1995. Balm in Gilead: Journey of a Healer. New York: Penguin.

Malcolm, J. 1994. The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. London: Granta.

Nabokov, V. 2012. Speak, Memory: an autobiography revisited. London: Penguin.

Taylor, S. 2017. Defiance: The Extraordinary Life of Lady Anne Barnard. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.



Date: 7–11 January 
Time: 1.00 pm
COURSE FEES Full: R550,00  Staff and Students R275,00
Venue: LT3 Kramer Law Building UCT