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Mensje van Keulen

Mensje van Keulen
Mensje van Keulen

(The Hague, NL, 1946) is the pseudonym of Mensje Francina van der Steen. At the festival she will receive the 2014 Constatijn Huygens Prize for her entire body of work, which, according to the jury, is testament to an extraordinary technical mastery: "All her stories are composed with precision and subtlety; they appear to be ordinary and commonplace, but the typical Mensje van Keulen touch invariably adds surprising heft or an unexpected twist." Van Kelen debuted in 1972 with the acclaimed novel Bleekers zomer (Bleeker's Summer), about a man who leaves his job and family and goes to Amsterdam. At first he experiences the environment of touts and pimps as liberation, but eventually he returns home. In 1992 she wrote a book about her friend Maarten 't Hart and his penchant for cross-dressing, Geheime dame (Secret Lady). In 1997 her autobiographical novel Olifanten op het web (Elephants on the Web) was published, in which she tells of her childhood, her life, and authorship. On several occasions, Van Keulen ran as candidate for the Partij voor de Dieren (Party for the Animals).

(WU 15 GR)

Archive available for: Mensje van Keulen

  • 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.