Antjie Krog: Plagiarist or Not Plagiarist?

Because fresh plagiarism charges seem to be unfurled more frequently than we replenish our own underwear drawer with scores of freshly laundered boxers (Is it too late to call 2006 the Year of the Plagiarist ?), the time has come for Return of the Reluctant to institute a new weekly feature: Plagiarist or Not Plagiarist ?

This Week’s Plagiarist : Antjie Krog

Source of Charges: Stephen Watson, writing in The New Contrast

Author’s Response to Plagiarism: “Stephen Watson in the annals of Plagiarism”

Work in Question: The Country of My Skull

Alleged Sources of Plagiarism: Multiple. Ted Hughes’ essay, “Myth and Education,” and two 19th century European linguists.

What the Publisher Says: Eve Gray at Random House: Only one phase strikingly similar, Krog’s book different in tone. Random House considering libel action against Watson.


  1. Has Eve Gray actually read the Ted Hughes article? If so, she must be blind, or dissembling frantically in the hopes that none of the rest of us will notice that Krog has stolen from Hughes with the brazenness of the truly egotistical. I hope Faber & Faber get hold of Krog, with the full fury of the famously protective Hughes estate behind them. Righteous indignation aside, I feel a bit sorry for Krog in odd moments – I think hers is the plagiarism that arises from a combination of laziness and a dry well of inspiration – maybe she just doesn’t have the patience to ride out an arid spell.

  2. Since Krog says pretty much the opposite of what Hughes said, and the quote is on page 290 of a 350-page book, um, Harry, maybe you ought to try doing some reading yourself sometime, instead of flinging around ludicrous accusations of laziness.

  3. LOL, sorry, at your careful revelation of the page number in Krog’s book. Should we laud her for 349 pages of originality and ignore the plagiarism? Oh wait, hang on, the Mail and Guardian just reported that there’s MORE plagiarism in Country of Everyone’s Skull But Mine. Or maybe it’s her stamina in producing such a very lengthy book that’s got you welling over with admiration.

    And it doesn’t matter that Krog says the “opposite” to Hughes – what she is stealing here is a discourse. But hey, don’t forget all those pages! What a gal!

  4. PS I was laughing so hard that I forgot to apologise for the lack of clarity in my first post – my comment about laziness was in reference to ‘the stars say “tsau”‘. However, I can’t tell you off the top of my head how many pages it has, so maybe I’m wrong again.

  5. This is the saddest piece of “writing” i’ve ever come across. I hope YOU dont ever try to bring out a book or even ATTEMPT to do what Antjie Krog has done. I’m sure you are just a bitter, lonely man and rightly so, because you cant type for shit.

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