Kenneth Bonert is a South African-Canadian writer and journalist. His debut novel The Lion Seeker won both the 2013 National Jewish Book Award for Outstanding Debut Fiction and the 2013 Edward Lewis Wallant Award. Bonert's second novel, The Mandela Plot, was released in 2018.
Born in Johannesburg, Bonert is the grandson of Lithuanian immigrants. In 1989, he moved to Toronto.
Kenneth Bonert is a former journalist. His work has appeared in the Globe and Mail and other publications.
Bonert has previously published short stories in McSweeney's 25, Grain, and The Fiddlehead. The story, "Packers and Movers," was shortlisted for the Journey Prize, and his novella "Peacekeepers, 1995" appeared in McSweeney's.
The Lion Seeker is his first novel about a Jewish emigrant family who settles in South Africa before the Second World War.
"The best compliment I've received is that the book feels like the true reality of South Africa, even though it's set in the 1930s. I think that's because life in South Africa is so intense, with highs of unbelievable kindness and caring, and lows of the utmost depravity. A country of emotional extremes as well as economic. If I've done my job, the reader should feel that intensity with this book," says the author.
The book was also a shortlisted nominee for the 2013 Governor General's Award for English-language Fiction, and the 2013 Amazon.ca First Novel Award.
The second novel, The Mandela Plot, is both a riveting literary thriller, a moving coming-of-age tale, and an unforgettable story of a land where power dynamics are constantly changing--between regimes, races, and classes, and, within one family, a single human being.