Kobus Moolman was born in 1964 in Pietermaritzburg. He is a senior lecturer in creative writing in the Department of English at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban. He holds a PhD in English Studies from UKZN.
In 2013 he received the 2013 Sol Plaatje European Union poetry award. In the same year, he was the Mellon Writer in Residence at Rhodes University for three months, and he also published his most recent poetry anthology, Left Over (Dye Hard Press). The collection has been widely acknowledged as his strongest to date.
In 2012 he was commissioned by the Performing Arts Centre of the Free State to adapt Zakes Mda’s the novel, The Madonna of Excelsior, for the stage. The production has travelled to several theatres in the country, including the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown and the State Theatre in Pretoria.
In 2010 he published Light and After (Deep South Press). The collection was launched at the 14th Poetry Africa festival in Durban. In the same year he received the South African Literary Award for Poetry for his collection, Separating the Seas. Founded by the national Ministry of Arts & Culture, the South African Literary Awards honour South African literary practitioners, while encouraging the advancement of literary heritage and practice.
In 2010 he was a special guest, for two months, of the Creative Writing Research Group of the University of Calgary in Canada. During this period he gave readings of his work and lectured, including at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. He was also an invited guest at the 2010 Calgary International Spoken Word Festival, during which time he performed at the Banff Centre for the Arts and in Canmore. In the same year he edited and published, Tilling the Hard Soil: poetry, prose and art by South African Writers with Disabilities (University of KwaZulu-Natal Press). He was also the invited dramaturge on a two-week residency for South African and Dutch scriptwriters organized by the Twist Theatre Development Project during the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. He was invited back as dramaturge in 2011 and 2013.
In 2009 one of poems was nominated for a US Pushcart Prize. At the beginning of 2008, he participated in a three-week collaborative residency at the Caversham Centre for Writers and Artists in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. During this residency he produced a limited edition, hand-bound collection of poems entitled Anatomy. This cycle of poems was later published in the Journal of Disability Studies (OhioStateUniversity). It also won the Dramatic and Literary Rights (DALRO) Prize for the best poem to appear in New Coin magazine in 2008.
A collection of his radio plays, Blind Voices, was published by Botsotso Publishers in 2007. The collection is sponsored by the British Council and features a CD of the BBC production of his earlier award-winning play, Soldier Boy.
In 2008, he was on the panel of adjudicators for the Ingrid Jonker award, and in 2009 he was a judge for the Thomas Pringle Award for Poetry.He was the founding editor of the annual KwaZulu-Natal poetry journal, Fidelities, which ran from 1995 until 2007. As co-ordinator of the Fidelities Poetry Project he conducted creative writing workshops and readings for a variety of interest groups, from offenders in prison to high school youth. From 2000 to 2009 he edited the poetry titles for the University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, working on collections by Karen Press, Mxolisi Nyezwa, Kelwyn Sole and Makhosazana Xaba, amongst others.
In 2007 he was also named joint winner of the 2007 NLDTF/PANSA Festival of Contemporary Theatre Readings of New Writing for his new play, Stone Angel. This is the second time he has won this major South African award for theatre writing. In the same year he was the chairperson of the selection committee for the Olive Schreiner Poetry Prize sponsored by the English Academy of Southern Africa.
In 2004 his play, Full Circle, was awarded the Jury Prize for Best Script in the Performing Arts Network of South Africa (PANSA) Festival of Reading of New Writing. The play premiered at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in 2005, directed by Charmaine Weir-Smith, and was critically acclaimed. It was subsequently produced at the Hilton College Theatre in Pietermaritzburg and at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg. The play was also produced as part of the Southern African theatre season at the Oval House Theatre in London in 2006. The script was published in 2007 by Dye Hard Press. And in 2008 it was produced by the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.
In 2004 he was commissioned by Bush Radio (Cape Town) to adapt Gomolemo Mokae’s short story, Milk and Honey Galore, for the radio.
In 2003 he was a runner-up in the BBC African Performance radio drama competition. His winning play was produced for the BBC World Service. In the same year it was also read at the Moscow Theatre Festival of New Writing. His collection, Feet of the Sky was published by Brevitas Press.
In 2001 he was one of five South African poets featured in a collection by Botsotso Publishers, entitled simply, 5 Poetry.
In 1998 he was awarded the Helen Martins Fellowship which enabled him to spend a month in the Karoo village of Nieu Bethesda working on an anthology of poetry. This collection, entitled, Time like Stone was published by UKZN Press in 2000. The collection was awarded the Ingrid Jonker Prize for 2001, the premier South African award for a debut anthology.
In 1992 he was a finalist in the Amstel Playwright of the Year Award. He is the recipient of the BBC African Radio Theatre Award (1987), the Macmillan Southern African Playwriting Award (1991) and in 2000 he won a merit award in the Noupoort Reward for Playwriting.