High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands


High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

Here Comes the Dutch Literary Invasion

Here Comes the Dutch Literary Invasion

Starting this month, Dutch literature will present itself under the title 'New Dutch Writing' at more than 70 festivals and events in the United Kingdom and Ireland. With this large-scale promotional campaign, the Dutch Foundation for Literature aims to introduce new generations of Dutch authors to the English-speaking world. The campaign also draws attention to literary translation.

On Saturday 12 October, an extensive and ambitious programme on Dutch culture and literature will take place at the British Library in London, with the Dutch authors Herman Koch, Joris Luyendijk, Naema Tahir and Esther Gerritsen, the Flemish novelist Jeroen Olyslaegers and the British authors Bart van Es and Simon Schama.

Later this week and this autumn, Dutch authors are programmed at the Cheltenham Literature Festival (11 October), the Durham Book Festival (13 October) and Poetry in Aldeburgh (9 November). Performances are also planned in libraries, bookshops and other venues.

As part of the 'New Dutch Writing' campaign, a number of translation workshops and writer's residencies will also be organised.

Eva Meijer and Bregje Hofstede will be writer-in-residence at the National Centre for Writing in Norwich in October and will give a public interview on Wednesday 9 October. Afterwards, on 10-12 October, there will be a translation workshop in Norwich for beginning and advanced literary translators Dutch-English and English-Dutch.

On Wednesday 9 October, the BBC Three radio programme Free Thinking will devote a great deal of attention to contemporary Dutch literature, with Eva Meijer, Herman Koch, Rodaan al Galidi and Onno Blom.

Work by all the aforementioned authors has recently been published in English translation. An overview of (the more than 100) recent English translations of Dutch literature can be found in this database.

Looking ahead 2020

Two themes are central to the campaign: new generations of Dutch writers and the profession of literary translator. These will come together in a special series of chapbooks at Strangers Press in May 2020. The series Verzet presents eight translations of work by young Dutch writers, including Karin Amatmoekrim, Thomas Heerma van Voss, Bregje Hofstede, Jamal Ouariachi and Gustaaf Peek. The translations are provided by talented beginning literary translators, who work under the guidance of experienced colleagues.

In 2020, the campaign will continue, focusing on Dutch literature at the festivals in Dublin, Manchester, Hay, Birmingham, Sheffield and the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August.


‘New Dutch Writing' is organized by the Dutch Foundation for Literature, which recently launched successful campaigns in Germany (at the Frankfurter Buchmesse 2016: Dies ist, was wir teilen) and France (Les Phares du Nord 2018-2019). The campaign aims to show the entire breadth of Dutch literature: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, children's and youth literature and the graphic novel.


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