P.C. Hooft Prize 2019 for Marga Minco

P.C. Hooft Prize 2019 for Marga Minco

Marga Minco has received the P.C. Hooft Prize. The 98-year-old author had success with her book Bitter Herbs (Het bittere kruid). Her oeuvre has been translated into more than 20 languages.

The jury states that Marga Minco has become the Dutch voice in European war literature because of her debut Bitter Herbs.

This book tells the story of how a young Jewish girl escapes being deported and how she survives the war. Her entire family perishes in the concentration camps. This semi-autobiogarphical story leaves a lasting impression upon the reader, because of Minco’s refusal to resort to any form of literary dramatisation to tell a story that is in itself poignant and dramatic.

According to the jury of the P.C. Hooft Prize, ‘the novels and stories of Marga Minco shape existential experiences such as fear, guilt, loneliness and a deep but barely expressible desire for security. Without psychologizing, without pathos or pretension, she makes an inscrutable reality palpable and imaginable.'

The P.C. Hooft Prize is one of the most important oeuvre prizes for Dutch-speaking authors and is awarded annually. The prize, worth €60,000, is awarded alternately to prose, poetry and essay writers.

Given the age and health of Minco, the prize will be presented at her home. This happens in January.

Minco was previously awarded the Annie Romein Prize (1999) and the Constantijn Huygens Prize (2005) for her oeuvre.

For her debut, Bitter Herbs from 1957, she received the Vijverberg Prize, predecessor of the F. Bordewijk Prize.

Minco only debuted at the age of 37, before that she worked as a journalist for various newspapers and magazines.

Photo Marga Minco: © Thomas Doebele

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