notes on dutch literature

Posts Tagged ‘Impac Dublin Literary Award’

Interview Gerbrand Bakker

In Awards, Interviews on July 23, 2013 at 9:59 AM

Gerbrand Bakker - Eimer Wieldraaijer
PEN Atlas Editor, Tasja Dorkofikis talks to Gerbrand Bakker about his novel, The Detour (titled Ten White Geese in the US), walking in Wales for two weeks, translating Emily Dickinson and about working with his translator David Colmer.

The Twin brought you much international recognition. Was it difficult to write a new novel after winning the IMPAC? Or was it in some way liberating to know that you have that official stamp of approval?

The Detour was already finished when The Twin was awarded with the IMPAC. It came out in October of 2010 here in Holland. So: no. But: since The Detour (or Ten White Geese in the US) I haven’t written anything, apart from my weblog and the occasional story or column. I simply did not feel like it. What I did do in the end with the prize money was to buy a house with land in The Eifel, Germany. Since the first of December last year I own it, and I go there a lot. One part of the house will be renovated later this spring, and there I will have a – I hope – wonderful, big writing room with only a wood burning stove in it, accessible via a staircase, outside the house. I’ve been having some problems with depression and stuff, and now I feel just fine, writing is not a part of my daily life, but I do feel like I have to have the feeling of wanting to write, if you know what I mean. Usually I’m very happy when I write. I work like a horse then: I don’t think or analyse much, I just move forward until the book is finished.

Read the entire interview with Gerbrand Bakker on

(c) Photo by Eimer Wieldraaijer


In Byron’s Footsteps

In Masters on February 11, 2013 at 10:03 AM

lord byron
When Tessa de Loo saw Albania for the first time, no foreigners were allowed to enter. Filled with a great curiosity, longing, and a sense of wonderment by this isolated land, de Loo gazed toward the mountains that stood like ‘the backs of patiently waiting elephants’ across the water from Corfu. Inspired by the famous Thomas Phillips portrait of Lord Byron in Albanian national costume, de Loo stole her way in and found a country suffering the hardships of post-communist reality and the constant and sometimes fractious clash between tradition and modernity. In the tradition of Bruce Chatwin, de Loo, the award-winning author of The Twins, has written a fascinating travelogue and a very personal reassessment of the life and works of Lord Byron: In Byron’s Footsteps, translated by Andy Brown.

Praise for the Dutch Edition of In Byron’s Footsteps
‘[One notes] the seriousness and humour with which De Loo laces her contribution to superior travel literature… She gives her report in the form of letters to Byron (My dear friend, My dearest George) alternated with chapters where she recounts Byron’s journey. However euphoric De Loo’s report is not too affected, it stays lively and informative…. is a book of contrasts, surprises and disappointments, written cheerfully and with eye for details.’ – Vrij Nederland

A translator’s note from Andy Brown:
‘Translating In Byron’s Footsteps was a true labour of love. Like Tessa de Loo, I became acquainted with Byron as a teenager at school. I lost sight of him over the years, but travelling with him to Albania, I rediscovered him and saw his rebelliousness and humour in a different light.

Byron was not always loved in his home country, and the feeling was mutual. Before he left on the journey that would eventually lead him to Albania, he had ordered his business agent to sell his family estate, saying: ‘[…] allow me to depart from this cursed country, and I promise to turn Mussulman, rather than return to it.’ Tessa de Loo went to Albania to find Byron. Perhaps by translating her wonderful account of their journey together, I have helped her to bring him home.’

Tessa de Loo’s novel The Twinshas been translated into 25 languages. She is the author of The Book of Doubt, which is longlisted for the 2013 IMPAC. The Book of Doubt will be available in the US March 2013.
Tessa de Loo lives in south Portugal and Paris and is one of the most successful writers in the Dutch language.

Nominees 2013 International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award

In Awards on November 12, 2012 at 1:00 PM

The Book of Doubt - Tesa de Loo

154 books have been nominated by libraries worldwide for the €100,000 International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award, the world’s most valuable annual literary prize for a single work of fiction published in English. Four Dutch authors are among 43 American, 22 British and 12 Canadian, 8 Irish novels as well as 42 books translated into English from 18 other languages:

The Book of Doubt by Tessa de Loo, translated by Brian Doyle (Haus Publishing, UK). Tessa de Loo’s novel The Twins has been translated into 25 languages. She is also the author of In Byron’s Footsteps.

Even though he is the son of a Dutch mother, Saeed has a Moroccan first name in memory of the virtuoso oud player his mother fell in love with twenty years ago. When she found out she was pregnant, he ran off and returned to Morocco. Saeed decides to look for his father, in the hope of finding a new identity in a new world.

Julia by Otto de Kat, translated by Ina Rilke (MacLehose Press, UK)

One summer’s afternoon in 1981, a factory owner, Christiaan Dudok, is found dead in his study having taken his own life. He has left no suicide note, but on his desk is a newspaper from 2 April 1942, reporting on the bombing of the north German town of Lübeck. The list of the dead includes the highlighted name of Julia Bender. As a young man finishing his studies in Lübeck in 1938, Christiaan is irresistibly drawn to Julia, a courageous German who has emphatically rejected the Nazi regime.

Otto de Kat lives and works as a publisher and novelist in Amsterdam. Man on the Move (MacLehose Press, 2009) was the winner of Holland’s Halewijn Literature Prize.

Caesarion (US title: Little Caesar) by Tommy Wieringa, translated by Sam Garrett, nominated edition Portobello Books Ltd., UK.

Caesarion is a novel that asks how anyone can ever know for sure how to be the right parent for their child, and how any child can know how to let themselves be parented. It is a beautiful, strong and brave novel. It confirms Tommy Wieringa as a storyteller of great range and real distinction.

Tommy Wieringa’s novel Joe Speedboat was awarded with the Holland’s Halewijn prize.

The Cocaine Salesman by Conny Braam, translated by Jonathan Reeder (nominated edition: Haus Publishing)

On 31st July 1917, 26-year-old Englishman Robin Ryder clambers from a trench on the Flanders battlefields and charges recklessly towards the German artillery. Later he is heavily wounded by a German grenade; despite extensive plastic surgery, half his face will have to be hidden behind a mask.

Conny Braam’s other books include Operatie Vula, De Bokkeslachter and Zwavel, a trilogy of novels about the Abraham family.

The German Wedding

In Review on November 4, 2012 at 9:46 PM

pieter waterdrinker the german wedding

Pieter Waterdrinker lives in Moscow as a novelist, writer and journalist. He got his big breakthrough with his novel The German Wedding (translated by Brian Doyle), which was longlisted for International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2011 and was nominated for the Gerard Walschap Prize. The international film rights were recently sold.

The German Wedding is a darkly funny, daring, and operatic novel that’s one part The Corrections, one part The Producers according to publisher Atlantic

The Times: “This wonderful novel, wittily translated from the Dutch by Brian Doyle, looks like a jolly comedy. It is very funny in its pitiless chronicling of human weakness, but there are disturbing undertones. The setting is a Dutch seaside resort in the 1950s. Ludo, the son of a hotelier, is about to marry Liza, the daughter of a German sausage-maker. But Liza wants escape from her parents and Ludo wants Liza’s money — and the spectres of war and occupation are never far off. Liza’s mother hates the match, Ludo hates the memory of his Jewish grandfather, and it can only end in tears. Hilarious comedy only highlights the tragedy.”

Interview David Colmer

In Interviews on October 28, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Australian born author and translator David Colmer lives in Amsterdam with his Dutch wife and two daughters. We don’t often give much thought to the translators who make the works of different languages available to us, but a good translation really is a work of art. He translated many novels, poetry and children’s fiction of well-known Dutch and Belgium authors like Hugo Claus, Dimitri Verhulst, Gerbrand Bakker, Annie M.G. Schmidt and Cees Nooteboom.

He is a four-time winner of the David Reid Poetry Translation Prize and his translation of Gerbrand Bakker’s The Twin won the 2010 Impac Dublin Literary Award. In 2009 he won the NSW Premier’s Award and PEN Medallion.

David Colmer was recently interviewed by Eart Shaw of Writers Radio.

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