The Low Countries
Deze Engelstalige blog, gelinkt aan het jaarboek The Low Countries, brengt nieuws over taal, cultuur en maatschappij in de Lage Landen voor een breed buitenlands publiek.
The New York Times places it in the 2016 top 10, The Economist calls it one of the best books of the year and now it has been nominated for the Man Booker International Prize 2017 longlist. The English-speaking world is lapping up Stefan Hertmans’ War and Turpentine.
Since its original publication in 2013, Oorlog en terpentijn has been deluged with positive responses, with sales receiving an extra boost from the commemoration of World War I in 2014. Hertmans’ Oorlog en terpentijn has won various prizes in Flanders and the Netherlands.
The novel was translated into English by David McKay and published in the UK in 2016 by Harvill Secker, later appearing in the US published by Knopf and Australia and New Zealand by Text. The promising review in The Guardian stated, “War and Turpentine has all the markings of a future classic”, and The New York Times compared Hertmans with the German author W. G. Sebald. Translator David McKay praised Hertmans’ style in De Standaard: “With Stefan Hertmans you hear a poet speaking.”
Meanwhile Harvill Secker is up to four or five print runs. The translation rights were recently sold for Hebrew, Arabic, Greek and Turkish, bringing the novel up to 21 translations.
The Dutch Foundation for Literature published a new edition of 10 Books from Holland. The foundation visited the London Book Fair with the spring edition of the brochure and presented ten titles from the Netherlands to foreign publishers.
One of those titles is already published: the highly acclaimed The Evenings by Gerard Reve. The other selected books are:
Herman Koch – The Ditch (De Greppel, 2016)
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer – Peachez. A Romance (Peachez, een romance, 2017)
David Pefko – There Come the Flies (Daar komen de vliegen, 2017)
Eva Meijer – The Bird Cottage (Het vogelhuis, 2016)
Christine Otten – We Had Love, We Had Weapons (We hadden liefde, we hadden wapens, 2016)
Hanna Bervoets – Ivanov (Ivanov, 2016)
Dola de Jong – The Tree and the Vine (De thuiswacht, 1954)
Aart Taminiau – Wool (Wol, 2016)
Frederik Baas – Diary From the River (Dagboek uit de rivier, 2017)
On 16th February 2017 Dick Bruna died at the age of 89. He was the creator of 124 children’s books, his most famous creation being Nijntje, known as Miffy in English, the little white rabbit with the cross for a mouth, who continues to entertain young and old even 62 years after her creation. The Miffy books have been translated into 50 languages, including Latin. Read more about Bruna's work in this article from The Low Countries Yearbook.
Flemish-Moroccan choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui played a role in creating the much applauded dance routine of American pop singer Beyoncé for the Grammy Awards on 12th February 2017.
The two artists previously collaborated last year for a benefit concert on the streaming website Tidal.
Beyoncé has previously taken inspiration from other European choreographers, leading to controversy over plagiarism for a video which was alleged to have used ideas from the work of Flemish choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui is said to have been moved that she reached out to him to collaborate directly.
Read about Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui in this article from The Low Countries Yearbook, watch Beyoncé's Grammy Performance here:
CODART is an international network of curators of Dutch and Flemish art based in the Netherlands Institute for Art History (RKD) and founded in 1998. The organisation recently launched a refreshed version of its long-established and award-winning website, which offers extensive information for experts and enthusiasts around the world.
February 1st sees the London launch of literary magazine Five Dials’ 41st issue, How Can This be Possible? A Survey of Dutch Writing, introducing English-language readers to authors not yet established in translation and showcasing the entertaining, moving and haunting voices of the finest young authors writing in Dutch today.
The Dutch issue, guest edited by author Philip Huff and designed by Visual Editions, includes work from Lynn Berger, Hanna Bervoets, Thijs de Boer, Thomas Heerma van Voss, Philip Huff, Dutch poet laureate Ester Naomi Perquin, Nina Polak, Mustafa Stitou, Maartje Wortel and Niña Weijers, with artwork from Iris Le Rütte and some graphic imaginings from Studio Joost Grootens.
To end the Émile Verhaeren celebrations (he died on 27th November 1916 in the railway station of Rouen, France), read this intriguing tale of a passion for the man.
by Will Stone
The University Press of Mississippi recently published Jeroen Dewulf’s The Pinkster King and the King of Kongo: The Forgotten History of America’s Dutch-Owned Slaves.
The book recounts the history of America’s Dutch slave community and free Dutch-speaking African Americans from seventeenth-century New Amsterdam to nineteenth-century New York and New Jersey, developing a new interpretation of the black folkloric tradition of Pinkster, adopted by the African slaves from their Dutch owners’ Pentecostal celebrations.
The Pinkster King won the Richard O. Collins Award in African Studies, the New Netherland Institute Hendricks Award, and the Clague and Carol Van Slyke Prize.
Can a contemporary poet be decadent and modern, urban at the same time? The Dutch poet Menno Wigman (1966) is. He is a poet “with the highest density of instant classics” and his poems seem indeed to have always existed when you read them for the first time, as translator David Colmer observes in his preface to the (bilingual) anthology he made of Wigman.
In this blogpost, you can read a poem by Wigman. You will also find an article from the yearbook about this dandy of disillusion's work.