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Stefan Hertmans

Stefan Hertmans - foto Serge Ligtenberg
Stefan Hertmans - foto Serge Ligtenberg

(Belgium, 1951) is a writer of poetry, novels, essays, plays, and short stories. He debuted in 1981 and has more than thirty books to his name. His international breakthrough came with Oorlog en terpentijn (War and Turpentine); more than 100,000 copies of this family chronicle were sold in the Netherlands and in Flanders. War and Turpentine is based on a few writings that Hertmans received in the 1980s from his grandfather, Urbain Martien, about his life before and during World War I. The reconstruction of Martien's story begins in about 1900 in a tight working-class Ghent neighbourhood and gets an unexpected twist during the Great War, when all established virtues were shot to pieces. The man who had wanted to be a painter was a decorated war hero whose life would never be the same. Hertmans taught at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and has delivered lectures at universities around the world. His literary work and reviews have appeared in American, Flemish, and Dutch newspapers and magazines. Anthologies of his poems have been published in English, German, and Spanish.


Archive available for: Stefan Hertmans

  • Winternachten 2015

    VPRO's OVT Live

    With: Bas Heijne, Cynthia McLeod, De Règâhs, Elsbeth Etty, Mathijs Deen, Nelleke Noordervliet, Paul Scheffer, Paul van der Gaag, Reggie Baay, Stefan Hertmans, Ton van de Langkruis

    One of the most popular programmes on Radio 1 is VPRO's OVT (Simple Past Tense). Every Sunday the contemporary relevance of history takes centre stage.

    It has become a tradition for OVT's radio professionals to relocate to The Hague during the festival in order to broadcast live from the cozy lobby of Theater aan het Spui. The public is most welcome; admission and coffee are free. The programme includes a spoken commentary by Nelleke Noordervliet, an interview with Bas Heijne on Couperus, and a focus on writer Reggie Baay and his just-published book Daar werd wat gruwelijks verricht (Something Terrible Happened There), about the hidden history of slavery in the Dutch East Indies. With live music by the The Hague band De Règâhs. Don't forget to reserve your spot via the blue link above. Programme in Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2015 – SATURDAY NIGHT UNLIMITED

    The Text of My Life: Stefan Hertmans

    In the Filmhuis Studio the festival's guest writers present their favourite literary texts and explain why a particular poem, novel excerpt, or song lyric influenced their life and work. Which memory, what feeling does this text call up for them? A continuous interview programme, in which the audience also talks with the writers. Hosted by Wim Brands and Fidan Ekiz. In Dutch.

  • Winternachten 2015 – SATURDAY NIGHT UNLIMITED

    Poets in the House

    Saturday Night Unlimited ends on a festive note with poetic presentations by writers who not only produce wonderful prose but also have a poet's heart beating within. Come listen to David Grossman's reading from Falling Out of Time, and to poems by Nii Ayikwei Parkes, Jennifer Clement, and Stefan Hertmans. With improvisations on cello by Ernst Reijseger. In Dutch and English.

  • Winternachten 2015 – SATURDAY NIGHT UNLIMITED

    At the Home Front

    Is there still such a thing as "home" when you return after a war? How do you rebuild a life? How do you reconstitute a civilization? Ian Buruma wrote Year Zero: A History of 1945, about the immediate aftermath of WWII. Stefan Hertman's War and Turpentine describes World War I through the eyes of his grandfather. Both authors choose a notably personal approach; Buruma, too, used the experiences of a family member—his father—as motivation to delve into world history. How does it affect a story when the source is so close to home? Is it possible to reflect reality on the basis of a detail? David Van Reybrouck poses these questions to the authors. Louise O. Fresco starts off the programme with a commentary.