Jaco Jacobs

Author of Children's books.


  • BA Communication Science (2002)
  • BA Honours Afrikaans

The well-known author Jaco Jacobs was born in Carnarvon, where he matriculated as head boy in 1998. In his matric year, he won the Poort Prize for prose and poetry. He obtained a BA degree in Communication Studies (cum laude) at the UFS in 2001 and received the Dean’s Medal as the best undergraduate
student in the Faculty of the Humanities. In 2002, he completed his honours in Afrikaans and Dutch Literature. 

He started his career as editor of the book page at Volksblad, also acting as editor of the Jip and the weekend edition, Joernaal. In 2004, he became a publisher of children’s books at Lapa Publishers. 

His writing career began at school where he participated in competitions for aspiring writers, and the publication of his first stories in magazines. His first children’s book, Pretpark, was written while still at school, but Troetelgedrog was his first published book (2001). Over the years he has published more than 150 books for toddlers, children, and young adults. He translated more than 250 children’s books by authors such as Julia Donaldson and Chris Riddel. He also uses the pseudonyms Tania Brink and Lize Roux.

Most of his books are written and published in Afrikaans. A Good Day for Climbing Trees was his first international book, followed by A Good Night for Shooting Zombies in 2018. The latter was one of the winners of the British Book Trust’s ‘In Other Words’ competition and was nominated for the Carnegie medal. A Good Night for Shooting Zombies and Suurlemoen were adapted into feature films and released in South Africa. The CD album by Anna Davel and the Jakaranda Children’s Choir, In die land van Kammalielie, is a collection of Jaco’s nursery rhymes. A production of Kaptein Blitz en die Skool vir Superheroes, with Frank Opperman as Captain Blitz, made its debut at the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival in 2012.

Jacobs was awarded numerous times and is often recognised as the most successful writer of children’s books in South Africa. He also enjoys wide international recognition. Among others, he received the following awards: the Hennie van Deventer trophy for outstanding journalism; 26 ATKV children’s book awards; the Alba Bouwer Prize; the CP Hoogenhout Medal; the Maskew Miller Longman Prize; the Kyknet/ Rapport Book Prize; the SATI prize for translation; the Tienie Holloway Medal; the SALA Prize; the Exclusive books/IBBY Prize; and the Elsabe Steenberg e-book prize for translated children’s literature.

Known for his passion for children, Jacobs regularly visits school to motivate learners; he also conducts writing workshops for talented learners. He is also one of the Afrikaans authors who donates his work on a regular basis to the literary archive of the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French. The UFS can truly be proud of this member of the alumni. 

Reading, parenting (he is the father of two gorgeous little girls) and running (he recently completed the Comrades Marathon for the second time) are some of Jaco’s favourite things.

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