notes on dutch literature

Leonard Nolens wins Dutch Literary Prize

In More poetry please on December 2, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Leonard Nolens
The Flemish poet and diarist Leonard Nolens (Bree, 11 April 1947) has received this year’s Dutch Literature Prize. It is the most prestigious prize in Dutch-language literature. The award includes a cash prize of €40,000.

‘Nolens makes Dutch sing again,’ said the jury, chaired by Herman Pleij. The jury called Nolens an ‘exceptional poet and a highly-gifted reader’ and characterised his work as ‘a life-long struggle with language and a quest for his own identity and that of others’.

The winner was overwhelmed by the news on Wednesday morning. He was sitting in his study when Minister Smet called. ‘It was if the outside world was coming inside in some ethereal way’.

Since his debut in 1969, Nolens has amassed an impressive oeuvre. His collection of poems entitled Liefdes verklaringen (Declarations of Love) (1990) was awarded the Jan Campert Prize in the Netherlands and the Triennial State Prize in Belgium. In 1997 he received the Constantijn Huygens Prize for lifetime achievement. In 2008, he was awarded the VSB Poetry Prize for the collection Bres (Breach).

Every three years, the Committee of Ministers of the Dutch Language Union awards the Dutch Literature Prize. The prize is presented to the authors of major literary works originally written in Dutch.

Publisher Querido issued a new, expanded monumental edition of Nolens’ collected works on the occasion of his 65th birthday, entitled Manieren van leven. Gedichten 1975-2011 (Ways of Living. Poems 1975- 2011), which forms a diptych together with Dagboek van een dichter (A Poet’s Diary).

An English translation of Leonard Nolens’ work is expected. Nolens’ peotry was selected for the collection In a Different Light: Fourteen Contemporary Dutch Poets (2002, Seren UK), edited by Robert Minhinnick and Rob Schouten and translted by a.o Paul Vincent


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