(Brussels, 1971) made his debut as novelist in 2010 with Bonita Avenue which became a best seller. Buwalda describes the demise of a family against the backdrop of the fireworks disaster in Enschede in 2000. The novel was awarded with five prizes and was translated into eighteen languages. Since then, Buwalda works on his second novel that will be published Fall 2018. Additionally he writes columns for Dutch national newspaper de Volkskrant. In 2017 he published a collection of these columns titled De kleine voeten van Lowell George (The Small Feet of Lowell George).(WU 2013 GR)
Archive available for: Peter Buwalda
A country goes to see the doctor! The Netherlands feels fantastic. In 2017, it held sixth place on the list of the happiest countries in the world. Not too bad when you consider, for example, the quality of Dutch health care and education. Or the freedoms enjoyed by its population. On an individual level, the future looks rosy, to say the least.
At the same time, the Netherlands seems to have lost its way. The expectations of society as a whole seem much more sombre. There is growing unrest about the collective identity. The Netherlands is frightened of losing ist norms and values.
What's going on? Writer and columnist Peter Buwalda, in the role of the Netherlands, interprets these paradoxical feelings on psychiatrist Damiaan Denys' sofa.
Shame in the Arab world. Shame as part of culture and literature. On this subject Lebanese writer Hanan al-Shaykh wrote an opening lecture on the invitation of the festival. Hanan al-Shaykh is regarded one of the most important Arabic woman writers. After her lectuer Ms al-Shaykh will be interviewed by Arabist Petra Stienen, and will discuss the lecture with the Dutch writer Peter Buwalda (Bonita Avenue) and the Pakistani author Mohamed Hanif. But first there is the offical opening of the festival by the Dutch minister for Education, Culture and Science, mrs Jet Bussemaker.
'Our lives were always permeated by shame, without it ever being discussed. Shame was part and parcel of our lives like the colour of our eyes or hair, whether that shame stemmed from our personal lives or the fact that we Arabs had made such a deep fall from historic glory to domination.' In Kamila, the Story of My Mother Hanan al-Shaykh writes about her mother's courage in the face of religious pressures, the family and tradition. Her mother chose for herself and left her husband and children in order to go and live with the love of her life. To her amazement she was swamped with criticism owing to the candidness with which she had written on her grandparents' poverty and illiteracy.
Kenyan poet and singer Ngwatilo Mawiyoo provides the musical opening, accompanied by musicians Serigne Gueye and Mark Tuinstra. In English.