notes on dutch literature

Posts Tagged ‘Peter Terrin’

The Guard – Peter Terrin

In Review on December 10, 2012 at 8:46 AM

Peter Terrin
Harry and Michel live in the basement of a luxury apartment block, guarding the inhabitants. No-one goes outside. The world might be at war – it might even have been plunged into nuclear winter. No-one knows. All Harry and Michel know is that if they are vigilant, ‘the Organization’ will reward them: promotion to an elite cadre of security officers remains their shining goal. But what if there were no-one left to guard? And if the promised relief shift arrives, how will they fit in to Michel and Harry’s studied routine of boredom and paranoia?

The Guard by Flemish writer Peter Terrin, was translated by David Colmer and published by MacLehose Press. The Guard won the European Prize for Literture. He was nominated for major literary awards several times, including the AKO Literature Prize and the Libris Literature Prize. He recently won the AKO Literature Prize this year for his most recent novel Post Mortem.

Peter Terrin represents a unique voice in contemporary Dutch-language literature, touching on universal and highly topical themes alike. Terrin, who has been described as ‘a master of ominous detail’, is considered by critics to be a literary maverick, a classic writer who doesn’t follow trends, and a masterful stylist.

‘There’s a cold and beautiful precision to Peter Terrin’s writing, and a remorselessness and finally terrifying accretion of detail that begins by seeming fussy and ends by being unsettling’ SFX.

The Guard is so good, its world so minutely described and Michel so undeniably compelling that to suggest anything other than to pick this up and read it immediately would be to do it a disservice’ SciFi Now.

It’s not a lengthy book, but whereas some genre writers would have a field-day in providing a novella around this brilliant situation, Terrin keeps us there for the longer haul, and successfully fleshes out his creation to a full-length novel that has much more in common with Pinter – a relentless masculinity, a wilful drive through the darker side of life, and a gripping sense of control over its audience. While we are isolated in just one fraction of a rarefied, seemingly apocalyptic world, and we cannot be sure what the two characters have full control over, the reader is with Terrin to the end, making this one of the more intriguing variants of the thriller you will come across this year. The Book Bag

Peter Terrin will be one of the six writers touring to six UK cities during the High Impact literary festival, January 14th – January 19th 2013.

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)

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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