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Lauren Liebenberg facts for kids

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Lauren Liebenberg
Born (1972-08-03) 3 August 1972 (age 51)
Occupation Writer
Nationality South African
Notable works The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam The West Rand Jive Cats Boxing Club Cry Baby

Lauren Liebenberg (born 3 August 1972) is a Zimbabwe-born South African writer. Her debut novel The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam was nominated for the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2008. Her subsequent novels, The West Rand Jive Cats Boxing Club and Cry Baby, have also received international critical acclaim.


Liebenberg was born in Rhodesia but as a child left newly independent Zimbabwe for neighbouring South Africa. She attended Brescia House, a Catholic school for girls in Johannesburg. After completing her undergraduate degree at the University of South Africa, she lived in England for some years, before returning to South Africa, where she graduated from the business school of the University of the Witwatersrand with a master's degree in business (MBA). She worked in investment banking and published in the field of financial markets, including a reference book entitled The Electronic Financial Markets of the Future, published in 2002.

Her debut novel, The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam which drew upon her experiences as a child in Rhodesia during the Rhodesian Bush War, garnered much attention from critics when it was published in 2008. The Guardian described it as "astonishingly vivid", going on to say that "Rhodesia springs to fecund, fetid life before your eyes ... like the children at its heart ... it’s immediate, rarely judgmental ... charming, upsetting and poignantly strange ... burrowing deep under your skin". The Financial Times described it as an "elegiac first novel [that] captures the insular vulnerability of this white African childhood." The Times described it as a "touching debut". The novel was also serialized by The Independent.

Apart from being longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, Liebenberg was one of only three women to be shortlisted for the Orange debut prize in 2008. In 2010, the novel was longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award.

Her follow-up novel, The West Rand Jive Cats Boxing Club, a coming-of-age story set in the gold-fields of Johannesburg, was published in 2011, and also drew warm praise from critics. The Guardian said the novel had "a true, raw feel about it" and described Liebenberg as a "terrific writer". The Times called it "moving ... [an] excellently crafted story" and The Financial Times hailed it as "vivid ... evocative ... and compelling". Cry Baby her third and latest novel, a satire on contemporary suburbia with a strong feminist theme, was published in February 2014. Liebenberg is married with two children and lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In later years Liebenberg has become active in the environmental movement and African wildlife conservation. She serves on the board of the Philip Herd Nature Reserve, Limpopo Province, South Africa, and founded an advocacy group, LivingLimpopo, which campaigns against coal mining and industrialization of the UNESCO MAB Vhembe Biosphere Reserve, and promotes biodiversity conservation and expansion of the Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA) of Mapungubwe and Great Limpopo. She serves on the Academy of Science South Africa (ASSAf) Scientific Group for Emergencies (SAGE) sub-committee and co-authored the SAGE Advisory on the environmental and cultural heritage impacts of the Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone (SEZ)[1] located in the Vhembe District of South Africa's northern Limpopo Province. Her writing has concentrated on environmental themes.

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