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Jan van Mersbergen

Jan van Mersbergen
Jan van Mersbergen

(Gorinchem, NL, 1971) debuted in 2001 with De grasbijter (The Grass Biter), a novel about a thirtysomething who leads a lonely life on his parents' farm until a girl turns up in his life. His seventh novel De laatste ontsnapping (The Last Escape) was published in 2014, about the meaning of family ties when you've never seen one another. In the intervening novels, Van Mersbergen covers a variety of topics, from friends who like tinkering with cars to a boxer on the lam who ends up in Pamplona during the annual running of the bulls. His work has been translated into German, English, Spanish, Catalan, French, Turkish, and other languages. Van Mersbergen studied Culture and Policy and Cultural Sociology in Amsterdam and has worked as a bricklayer, test-animal caretaker, postman, and in the theatre as a producer, production manager, stage designer, fundraiser, and administrator. Since 2010 he has been an editor with the literary magazine De Revisor. That same year, his website was named best literary weblog in the Netherlands by the monthly magazine HP/De Tijd. In 2016 he received the F. Bordewijk Prize for De laatste ontsnapping. His latest novel De Ruiter was published in 2017.

(WU 15 GR)

Archive available for: Jan van Mersbergen

  • Winternachten 2015

    The Writers' Fest

    With: Aad Meinderts, Bart Moeyaert, Bas Heijne, Calliope Tsoupaki, Cristina Branco, De Règâhs, Dimitri Verhulst, Francis Broekhuijsen, Ivo van Hove, Jan van Mersbergen, Joris Wijsmuller, Kees 't Hart, Luc Coorevits - Behoud de Begeerte, Lucky Fonz III, Maarten 't Hart, Maria Barnas, Mensje van Keulen, Piet Gerbrandy

    Francis Broekhuijsen hosts the festival's concluding celebration: the Writers' Fest, a varied programme centred around Dutch literature.

    Poet Maria Barnas begins the afternoon with an ode to poetry. Writer and critic Kees' t Hart introduces the programme with his views on the state of Dutch literature, a speech about the literary highlights of 2014. Writer Bart Moeyaert, artistic manager of special guests Flanders and the Netherlands at the 2016 Frankfurt Book Fair, presents his plans to promote our literature in the global context. Fado singer Cristina Branco sings songs composed specially for the occasion, based on poetry by Remco Campert and others.

    The core of the programme is the presentation of the Jan Campert prizes, the City of The Hague's prestigious literary awards, with inspired lectures by admirers of the laureates. For his poetry collection Vlinderslag (Stroke of the Butterfly), Piet Gerbrandy will receive the Jan Campert Prize and a tribute by composer Calliope Tsoupaki. Jan van Mersbergen, who will receive the Ferdinand Bordewijk Prize for his novel De laatste ontsnapping (The Last Escape), will be serenaded by singer-songwriter Lucky Fonz. Bas Heijne will receive the J. Greshoff Prize for Angst en schoonheid. Louis Couperus, de mystiek der zichtbare dingen (Fear and Beauty: Louis Couperus and the mysticism of tangible things). He will be addressed by Ivo van Hove, director of the Amsterdam Theatre, which will stage the work of Couperus in 2015. Writer Dimitri Verhulst will honour Luc Coorevits, the passionate founder of the Flemish literary organization Behoud de Begeerte, which won the G.H. 's-Gravensande Prize for exceptional literary achievement. The evening's crowning glory is the Constantijn Huygens Prize for a body of work. This will be awareded to Mensje van Keulen for her novels, stories, and poems. Fellow writer and contemporary Maarten 't Hart will sing her praises, as will De Règâhs.

    Presented in collaboration with the Dutch Foundation for Literature and the Jan Campert Foundation.