Born in Durban, Imraan Coovadia (1970 - ) currently resides in Cape Town, where he is a Professor in the English Department at UCT. He has taught 19th Century Studies and Creative Writing at a number of US universities.
His debut novel, The Wedding, published simultaneously in the US and SA in 2001 has been translated into Hebrew and Italian. It was shortlisted for the 2002 Sunday Times Fiction Award, Ama-Boeke Prize (2003), IMPAC Dublin International Literary Award (2005), and was chosen as book of the week by Exclusive Books (South Africa) and Asian Week.com.
Coovadia has always kept a close connection to his hometown, stating in an interview " I have lived in London, Melbourne, Boston and New York – but always Durban as well ... I’ve gone through phases of feeling ½ South African and ½ American, but these fractions have now changed".
In June 2009, Coovadia released High low-in Between, a narrative set in KwaZulu Natal, where a woman must deal with her husband's murder, and medical dramas such as organ donation, quack doctors, and AIDS denialism.
Coovadia followed up High low-in Between with The Institute for Taxi Poetry (2012), Transformations (2012) and Tales of the Metric System (2014).
The Institute for Taxi Poetrywon an M-Net Literary Award in 2013 and, in addition to Transformations, was nominated for the main University of Johannesburg Prize for South African Writing in English. Tales of the Metric System received similar acclaim. It won an award for "Best Single Authored Fiction" at the Inaugural NIHSS Book, Creative and Digital Awards, was shortlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award in 2015 and for the 2015 Barry Ronge Sunday Times Fiction Prize.
Extract from The Wedding. On Friday morning, on an empty stomach, Ismet took his namaaz mat under his arm and set off for the Grey Street mosque. It wasn't far but the streets were busy, men leaning on the walls, calling out the prices from the shop doors, smoking, paan-chewing, spitting in the road, since it was two hours out of the day off from work.
He went straight past the jewelry stores with necklaces and Elgin and Madix pocket watches on display in red velvet boxes, the halaal butchers selling cold meats and sausages, the Butterworth hotel on whose balcony were men drinking from dark green beer bottles . He was starting to feel perfectly at home. He looked at the blacks in blue overalls, light-bodied men sweating in the heat and moving boxes or grumbling, and he wanted to put his arms around them.
2001. The Wedding. New York/ Johannesburg: Picador USA/ Pan Macmillan. 2006. Green-eyed Thieves. Cape Town: Random House-Umuzi.
2009. High low-in Between. Cape Town: Random House-Umuzi.
2012. The Institute for Taxi Poetry. Cape Town: Random House-Umuzi
2012. Transformations. Cape Town: Random House-Umuzi
2014. Tales of the Metric System. Cape Town: Random House-Umuzi