Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge
The J.M. in J.M. Coetzee stands for John Maxwell.
How the heck do you say Coetzee? Well, you can say it as kuut-SEE-uh or kuut-SEE, but it turns out he prefers it the second way. We've been saying it wrong all along! There's even an article on this whole business of pronouncing Coetzee's last name. (Read it here.)
Coetzee won the Booker Prize for Disgrace in 1999. He is the only writer who has won this prestigious literary award more than once (he also won it in 1983 for his novel Life and Times of Michael K). Believe it or not, he didn't show up for the awards ceremony either time. Check out this article in the Guardian about Coetzee's reclusiveness.
J.M. Coetzee helped to found a charitable book series through the Oak Tree Press called the First Chapter Series. The First Chapter Series publishes a limited edition set of autographed first chapters of books by major authors. All of the proceeds go to help child victims and orphans of HIV/AIDS in Africa. (Source)
J.M. Coetzee is a vegetarian and writes a lot about animal cruelty, vegetarianism, and animal welfare.
The movie version of Disgrace is actually the third of Coetzee's works to be adapted into a film; his novel In the Heart of the Country was adapted into a film called Dust in 1985, and his work The Lives of Animals was adapted into a TV film in 2002.