top of page


looked after.jpg

Deborah Levy

In the first of her Living Biography series, Things I Don’t Want to Know (2013), South African born British novelist, Deborah Levy (b. 1959) writes about her early childhood in South African during the apartheid era.

Debra is five years old and living in Johannesburg when her father is arrested and imprisoned for being a “member of the African National Congress” (Levy 49).

Two years later and with her father still in prison, young Debra is sent to live with her Godmother Dory in Durban where she attends a local convent school. It’s not clear, but Debra seems to have been with Godmother Dory for 2 years and for much of that time, she did not speak.

Debra was 9 and back with her mother and younger brother when her father was released from prison. Two months later, the family left South Africa for the United Kingdom.

bottom of page