notes on dutch literature

What Kwaku Knows – Radio Book

In Masters, Pick of the Week on December 19, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Arthur Japin
Dutch writer Arthur Japin was born in Haarlem in 1956. He studied Dutch Language and Literature at the University of Amsterdam and drama at The Webber-Douglas Academy of Dramatic Arts in London and the Amsterdam Theatre School. He acted on stage, screen and television for many years.

The publication of his debut novel The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi in 1997 established Arthur Japin’s name as a writer. It is the tragic story of two Ashanti princes Kwasi and Kwame, who were offered as a gift to King William I in 1837. In a beautiful, polished style Japin blended fiction and historic fact into a striking whole. The book sold over 150,000 copies in the Netherlands and won multible awards. It’s been translated into numerous languages, including English, and adapted for stage, screen and opera.

In 2003 Japin published another historical novel In Lucia’s Eyes, which won him the Libris Literature Prize. Inspired by an episode related in the memoirs of Casanova, the story is set in Amsterdam in 1758. An English translation by David Colmer received critical acclaim in the United States.

His most recent novel Director’s Cut sets in Rome and features Italian film director Federico Fellini, with whom Japin found himself caught up in an unlikely love triangle.

His Radio Books story What Kwaku Knows is set in Ghana where young boys dream of being discovered by football scouts and Kwaku is no exception.

“All the boys in Kwaku’s class want to be footballers. So does he. Even more so now. Three months ago, an uburuni was standing at the field behind the school, watching them play. They had done their best. After the game, the man had beckoned to Michael, Kwaku’s best friend. He had visited his parents that evening. He gave them fifty dollars and some pocket money for Michael. He guaranteed that he would turn the boy into a professional footballer…”

What Kwaku Knows by Arthur Japin was translated by Michael O’Loughlin. The story is read by David Swatling.

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