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Chris Mann

Chris Mann

Poet and academic
Chris Mann
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Poet and academic
A.K.A. Christopher Mann
Is Poet Academic
From South Africa
Type Education Literature
Gender male
Birth 1948
Age 73 years
University of London
St Edmund Hall
Rhodes Scholarship  
Peoplepill ID chris-mann-2
The details (from wikipedia)


Christopher Michael Zithulele Mann (born 1948 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa) is a South African poet.


Chris Mann was born in Port Elizabeth in 1948 and went to school in Cape Town. He studied English and Philosophy at the University of the Witwatersrand, and went to Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar where he was awarded an MA in English Language and Literature. He also studied African Oral Literature at the School of Oriental and African Languages in London. From 1977 to 1980 he held a lecturer post in the English Department at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa. From 1980 to 1995 he worked with an NGO, The Valley Trust after which he returned to Rhodes University where he is presently a professor of poetry with the Institute for the Study of English in Africa. He is founder and convenor of Wordfest, a national multilingual festival of South African languages and literature with a developmental emphasis. A native English speaker, Mann is also conversant in Afrikaans, isiZulu and isiXhosa. He performs his work at festivals, schools, churches, universities and conferences in South Africa. He is married to artist Julia Skeen.



  • First Poems, 1979. Cape Town: Bateleur Press.
  • A New Book of South African Verse, 1979. With Guy Butler. Cape Town: OUP.
  • New Shades. David Philip. 1982. ISBN 978-0-908396-54-2.
  • Kites, and Other Poems. New Africa Books. 1990. ISBN 978-0-86486-151-1.
  • Mann Alive!: Poems. David Philip. 1992. ISBN 978-0-86486-239-6.
  • South Africans: a set of portrait-poems. University of Natal Press. 1996. ISBN 978-0-86980-922-8.
  • The horn of plenty: a series of painting-poems. ISEA, Rhodes University. 1997. ISBN 978-0-86810-324-2. with Julia Skeen
  • The Roman Centurion’s Good Friday, 1999. Grahamstown: Cathedral of St Michael & St George.
  • Heartlands. University of Natal Press. 2002. ISBN 978-1-86914-010-6.
  • In Praise of the Shades, 2003. Grahamstown: Cathedral of St Michael and St George.
  • Walking on Gravity, 2004. Grahamstown: Cathedral of St Michael and St George.
  • Thuthula, 2005. Johannesburg: Ravan & PanMacmillan.
  • Beautiful Lofty Things, 2005. Grahamstown: Cathedral of St Michael and St George.
  • Walking on Gravity, 2005. In: Dante in South Africa. Cullinan, Patrick and Watson, Stephen (Eds.). Cape Town: Centre for Creative Writing, University of Cape Town.
  • Lifelines, 2006. With: Skeen, Julia and Craig, Adrian. Pietermaritzburg: UKZN Press.
  • Home from Home: New and Selected Poems. Echoing Green Press. 2010. ISBN 978-0-9802501-7-6. with Julia Skeen
  • Small Town Big Voice, 2012. Ed. Renard, Andrew. Port Elizabeth: SACEE.
  • Rudiments of Grace, 2014. Grahamstown: Cathedral of St Michael and St George.
  • Epiphanies .' 2017. Grahamstown. Cathedral of St Michael and St George.
  • ' 'Heraclitus in Africa. forthcoming.

Plays in verse and multimedia poetry productions

  • The Sand Labyrinth. 1980 National Student Drama Festival.
  • Mahoon’s Testimony. Broadcast on SAfm in 1998, rebroadcast 2007.
  • Frail Care. Broadcast on SAfm in 1997 and re-broadcast in 1999 and 2007.
  • The Crux of Being. 1999 National Arts Festival Fringe.
  • In Praise of the Shades. 2003 National Arts Festival Fringe.
  • Thuthula. 2003 National Arts Festival Main Programme.
  • Walking on Gravity. 2004 National Arts Festival Fringe.
  • Beautiful Lofty Things. 2005 National Arts Festival Fringe production.
  • Lifelines. 2006 National Arts Festival Fringe poetry performance production.
  • LifeSongs. 2007 National Arts Festival Fringe installation.
  • Epiphanies. 2008. National Arts Festival Fringe installation.
  • LifeSongs. 2011. National English Literary Museum installation.
  • The Ballad of Dirk de Bruin, 2014. National Arts Festival Fringe.
  • Anxiety and Grace. With Julia Skeen. 2016. National Arts Festival Fringe and Spiritfest.
  • Epiphanies. With Julia Skeen. 2018. National Arts Festival Fringe and Spiritfest.


  • "The Guttural Muse in the Sky: A valediction for Seamus Heaney". English Academy Review. 30 (2): 129–132. 2013. doi:10.1080/10131752.2013.843906. ISSN 1013-1752.
  • "Saturnalia satirica: six satires wearing masks". Scrutiny2. 19 (1): 147–151. 2014. doi:10.1080/18125441.2014.906257. ISSN 1812-5441.
  • "Creation and translation." Ileana Dimitriu & Chris Mann. Current Writing, Volume 19, 2007 - Issue 1
  • "Seeing the cosmos in a grain of sand." Chris Mann. Current Writing, Volume 20, 2008 - Issue 2
  • "The Poetry of Belonging. Episodic Memory and Italian and South African Shades." English Literature | 3 | 2016
  • "Points of Illumination: Wordfest South Africa This Year and Next."

Commentary on Mann's Work

Mann's work has received critical consideration in journals such as

  • The English Academy Review;
  • English in Africa;
  • Shakespeare in Southern Africa;
  • Scrutiny2; and
  • Literator.


  • Newdigate Prize for Poetry while a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford.
  • Olive Schreiner Prize for South African Poetry in English.
  • South African Performing Arts Councils’ Playwright Award.
  • Hon.D.Litt. University of Durban-Westville, now University of KwaZulu-Natal.
  • Eastern Cape Premier’s Award for Literature.
  • First Professor of Poetry, Rhodes University.
  • English Academy of South Africa Thomas Pringle Award for Poetry.
  • Mann's 2014 play The Ballad of Dirk de Bruin which premiered at the National Arts Festival was awarded a Silver Standard Bank Ovation Award for "artistic innovation, excellence and the exploration of new performance styles".
  • Honorary Artist in Residence, Grahamstown Cathedral (2017–present)
  • Guest poet, Incroci di civiltà international poetry festival, Venice 2019
  • English Academy of South Africa Gold Medal 2019
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 30 Jun 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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