notes on dutch literature

Posts Tagged ‘Chika Unigwe’

Litro Magazine: Double Dutch

In Short Stories on August 8, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Litro Magazine

Litro Magazine is London’s leading short stories magazine that wants to find new ways of looking at the world through stories, seeking out the compelling and the controversial, the funny and the fantastic, the sad and the strange.

Traditionally Litro focused on short fiction, armed with a mission to discover new and emerging writers, giving them a platform to be read alongside stalwarts of the literary scene. More recently, the magazine added interviews, columns, podcasts, reviews, and features on literature, arts and culture. Additionally they ventured into LitroTV, where you can see and hear directly from your favorite writers.

February of last year Litro Magazine published the first of Litro’s World Series of issues in translation. The edition named Double Dutch contains a selection of contemporary stories and poetry from the Netherlands and Belgium, including poems by Ramsey Nasr and short stories by Chika Uniqwe and Sanneke van Hassel.

You can read the entire issue Litro #113 Double Dutch here. (c) Litro Magazine. Cover Design by Luke Bright. Make sure to visit the site of Litro Magazine for many more Dutch short stories, interviews and reviews and from many other countries.


High Impact 14th – 19th January 2013

In Festivals on December 9, 2012 at 9:00 PM

High Impact Literature from the Low Countries
As preparations for High Impact go into turbo drive Michele Hutchison takes her seat as tour blogger. High Impact: Literature from the Low Countries – to give its full title – is a festival and tour in which six top Dutch-language writers from Flanders and The Netherlands will give readings in six cities around the UK. Hutchinson introduces the concept and thinking behind the whole project. Here’s her interview with the Artistic Director Rosie Goldsmith about what it all means.

The six participating writers:

Lieve Joris: her journalism & non-fiction books on Africa, China, the Middle East & Europe have earned her the reputation as the VS Naipaul or Ryszard Kapuscinski of the Low Countries. Author of the acclaimed The Rebel’s Hour (Atlantic, 2008)
Powerful and timely, intensely imagined’ (Paul Theroux)

Herman Koch: former actor & comedy star; best-selling novelist – in the Netherlands & round the world – of the thrilling, chilling mega-hit The Dinner (Atlantic, 2012)
Proves how powerful fiction can be in illuminating the modern world’ (The Economist)

Ramsey Nasr: the Dutch Poet Laureate & all-round Renaissance Man (actor, director, poet, journalist & librettist), famed for his beautiful prose, provocative politics & exciting public appearances. Heavenly Life was published by Banipal in 2010. ‘With this collection Anglophone readers are introduced to a poet of global scope’ (Marilyn Hacker)

Peter Terrin: this year’s winner of the prestigious AKO Literature Prize & author of the magnificent psychological thriller The Guard (Maclehose Press, 2012). ‘A rich and gripping mix of all the ingredients that make for a truly haunting atmosphere’ (Writers’ Hub)

Chika Unigwe: Born in Nigeria, at home in Belgium; poet, short story writer & award-winning novelist of On Black Sisters’ Street (Vintage, 2009). ‘Exquisitely observed and heartbreaking’ (The Guardian)

Judith Vanistendael: The Posy Simmonds of Belgium; the bold & brilliant graphic novelist of When David Lost His Voice (Self Made Hero, 2012). ‘Big, bleak, brilliant and stark’ (The Economist)

On Black Sisters’ Street

In Pick of the Week on November 22, 2012 at 8:00 AM


The Guardian calls Chika Unigwe one of the most probing, thought-provoking writers of the recent renaissance in African fiction. Unigwe is a Nigerian living in Belgium, she writes in both English and Dutch. Her first novel, De Feniks, was published in Dutch by Meulenhoff / Manteau in September 2005; it is the first book of fiction written by a Flemish author of African origin. The story, set in Turnhout, explores themes such as grief, illness and loneliness, subjects already touched upon in Unigwe’s earlier work. By featuring a central character who shares the novelist’s Afro-European background, the narrative also exposes some shortcomings of Belgian society, like its pervasive unwelcoming atmosphere and the superficiality of many of its inhabitants.

Her impressive second novel, 2009’s On Black Sisters’ Street (published by Vintage, UK and Random House, US) went behind the scenes of the sex industry to explore the complicated reasons why four African women end up as prostitutes in the red-light district of Antwerp. Unigwe tells the stories of four African sex workers sharing an apartment in Antwerp’s red-light district. But it is only when Sisi, the rebel among them, is murdered, that her three housemates emerge from their self-protective anonymity to share their family histories.

With Night Dancer (published by Jonathan Cape, UK), Unigwe continues her project of tackling big issues through superb portrayals of complex female characters, and immersing us in the dramas of their lives. Night Dancer is set in Nigeria (Enugu to be exact) and tells the story of Mma and her stubborn mother Ezi. Ezi’s unexpected death leads Mma to learn about her mother’s past and rethink the resentment and contempt she has held for her mother her whole life. Mma resents her mother who likes to say things twice like ‘dance-dance’ and ‘happy-happy’ and who won’t let Mma know anything about her father – Ezi left her husband, Mike, and life in Kaduna, when Mma was a baby to raise her as a single mother.

For more reviews: New York Times, The GuardianBookshy. More information about the author:

High Impact: Literature from the Low Countries

In Festivals on November 20, 2012 at 10:13 AM

High Impact Literature from the Low Countries

Lieve Joris, Herman Koch, Ramsey Nasr, Peter Terrin, Chika Unigwe, Judith Vanistendael and Geert Mak. All award-winning and best-selling authors from Belgium and the Netherlands.

From 14th – 19th January 2013 these Dutch and Belgian authors will tour from Liverpool to London. 6 cities for 6 nights of readings & debates, to showcase the excellent literature from Flanders & the Netherlands in English translation

HIGH IMPACT brings this unique group of writers together. You’ll hear the Dutch Poet Laureate side by side with Belgium’s leading graphic novelist; 2 global best-sellers, a thriller writer, a celebrated historian and a travel writer, together on stage every night. Each night a different city, a different theme, a different type of venue (a church, theatre, an arts centre). During the final gig they will perform alongside English literati such David Mitchell, Tracy Chevalier and Deborah Moggach, themselves famous writers on Dutch themes: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, The Girl With The Pearl Earring and Tulip Fever.

More info @Dutch Foundation for Literature

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