(Kortrijk, Belgium, 1962) won the 2017 Woutertje Pieterse Prize for her picture book Stella. In it, a drowning person is fished out of the sea and taken in by a foster family. She has been teaching graphic design at the Hoger St.-Lucas Institute in Ghent since 1992. Dendooven is famous for and has won many awards for her children's book illustrations. She received the Gouden Penseel (Golden Brush) in 2000 for her work in De verliefde prins (The Prince in Love) by Ron Langenus. She also writes plays and children's books and illustrates adult books and newspaper columns.(2017)
Archive available for: Gerda Dendooven
In spring 2017 the joint poetry collection Me Here You There by Palestinian-Syrian poet Ghayath Almadhoun and the former Poet of the Fatherland Anne Vegter was published. For Writers Unlimited, they have collaborated with two exceptional musical talents: the Hague-Syrian-Palestinian oud-player and music professor Amer Shanati and singer-songwriter Stefka.
Vegter wrote the following about the creation of Me Here You There: "I first heard Ghayath Almadhoun during an interview with his translator Djûke Poppinga. He said that he fled Syria before the civil war broke out. He asked for asylum in Sweden and wrote the Poem 'I Cannot Be Present' in Stockholm, which articulates his discomfort at the distance between himself and the war in his native country.
As someone born and living in a safe country, my situation is of course much different. The world is burning and I refuse to look the other way. It's easy to do so with a roof over my head. My own discomfort led me to write poetry about war. My war is not his war. Ghayath and I decided to collaborate on a volume of poetry: his voice, my voice, my poems, his poems."
Rage is wafting around Europe. Rage in many forms and voices, but perhaps also from a common source. Led by author and cultural historian David Van Reybrouck, writers from various European cities delineate and interpret this rage from their own environments and perspectives.
Some Europeans think that our continent is denying its origins and heading towards cultural suicide by opening itself to the culture of strangers. Others believe that Europe is mired in colonial reflexes and prejudices, and falls short in terms of welcoming new citizens. Yet others see only a Europe of interference and technocracy, bereft of passion, imagination and democratic vitality.
Multitalented author and playwright Van Reybrouck wrote high-profile books such as Congo: A history, and essays such as "A Plea for Populism" and "Against Elections". Fatma Aydemir's debut novel Ellbogen (Elbow), about escalating violence in the U-Bahn, recently divided critics and readers in Germany. Grazyna Plebanek, originally from Warsaw, lived in Stockholm for a few years and in Brussels since 2005, where she works as a journalist and writer of short stories and novels. Until 1989, art historian, poet and essayist Magda Carneci published under a pseudonym in Bucharest; these days, she is, among others, Editor of Revista ARTA.
As counterpoints, Rodaan Al Galidi recites some of his poems, Gerda Dendooven creates illustrations and Stefka and Amer Shanati play their music.
Schiller's idealistic poem about Europe and humanity, adapted to the here and now! Writers Unlimited asked seven writers and poets each to write their own Ode to Joy. This evening they presented their newly written works.
Participants at this Odes 2.0 were Nino Haratischwili, Magda Cârneci, Sanam Sheriff, Efe Murad, Grazyna Plebanek, Gustaaf Peek. Ghayath Almadhoun and Charlotte Van den Broeck. They recited their work in their mother tongues, with simultaneous projections of Dutch and/or English translations. Classical accordionist Oleg Lysenko, Cellist Elisabeth Sturtewagen and soprano Jole De Baerdemaeker provided musical accompaniment.
Originally written in 1785, Schiller's Ode to Joy lives on because Ludwig van Beethoven added one of its stanzas to the finale (for choir and soloists) of his Ninth Symphony. In 1985, the European Union Chose this particular segment - albeit in wordless form - as the official hymn of the EU. In the poem, Schiller transmits the ideal of a world in which all people live in brotherhood.
The longing for a strong collective feeling has once again become a source of social movements around the world. That "we"-feeling feeds passionate new emancipation and indentity groups. It also causes social fragmentation and conflict.
Brotherhood, the third pillar of democracy from the French Revolution, has long been viewed as a less inflammatory societal value compared with Freedom and Equality. But the comeback of a strong collective feeling is connected to high levels of polarization and conflict in society.
Bas Heijne, winner of the P.C. Hooft Prize for his essays and a prominent NRC newspaper columnist, investigated why the power of a longing for Brotherhood is underestimated, with the help of Flemish cultural historian and writer David Van Reybrouck, Turkish poet and philosopher Efe Murad, German novelist Fatma Aydemir and Polish novelist and journalist Grazyna Plebanek. Together they looked for the contemporary words to express a sense of collective bonding.
The conversations were accompanied by performances of poetry slam-talent Sanam Sheriff (India), by live drawn illustrations by Gerda Dendooven (Belgium) and by music performed by classical accordionist Oleg Lysenko (Netherlands) and soprano Elisabeth Sturtewagen (Belgium).
Equality reconsidered: in the 20th century, the Soviet Union added a strange flavour to the second ideal of the French Revolution. Equality reduced to the repression and monotony of state socialism and the dullness of old Ladas.
Writers Unlimited investigates the value of equality as a European ideal in the framework of the intellectual legacy of Karl Marx*. What can we learn from the socialist era in Central and Eastern Europe? Can Marx remain a fount of inspiration after the Soviet debacle?
In his revolutionary pamphlet Resist! (Querido, 2017), novelist Gustaaf Peek proposes that, after thirty years of capitalist domination, it is high time to aim for equality and to reconsider and reevaluate a communist-style redistribution of wealth.
He discussed this subject with the Georgian-German writer Nino Haratischwili and the Romanian poet and essayist Magda Carneci. Professor and essayist Paul Scheffer moderated the conversation. Classical accordionist Oleg Lysenko and his trio provided music.
*More Marx? During Saturday Night Unlimited, Winternachten festival screened the Dutch premiere of The Young Karl Marx by Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck, whose earlier successful documentary I Am Not Your Negro focused on writer James Baldwin. His feature film is an intense reimagination of the birth of communism and the meeting of Marx and Engels.
How do we deal with borders in an era of globalization? Writers Unlimited presents a conversation about the necessity and the impossibility of national borders in an ever-shrinking world.
In his new, contemporary love story Exit West, the successful Pakistani writer Mohsin Hamid describes life in a time of global migration. In the book, nominated for the 2017 Man Booker Prize, a young couple flees violence in their country via secret doors that lead to Greece and other places.
Paul Scheffer, author and professor of European Studies at the universities of Tilburg and Amsterdam, published the esssay De vrijheid van de grens (The border's freedom, 2016) in which he states that an open society can only exist by a certain spatial demarcation.
Ghayath Almadhoun read from his work for this event. The poet, a member of a young and engaged generation of Arabic writers, has a Palestinian-Syrian background and has lived in Sweden since 2008. He was a journalist in Damascus and set up a house of poetry there.
The musical contribution to this program was by The Hague oud-player, composer and music teacher Amer Shanati; visual artist and illustrator Gerda Dendooven made live drawings.
The Congolese novelist and essayist Alain Mabanckou opened Friday Night Unlimited with a lecture about the values of the French Revolution and their meaning in our time.
Afterwards, writer and essayist Stephan Sanders had conversations with Alain Mabanckou, with historian and political philosopher Luuk van Middelaar and writer Louise O. Fresco about the contemporary meaning of freedom as a driving force of European democracy.
What is the meaning of the French Revolution's motto in today's Europe? For the revolutionaries, freedom stood for much more than individual aims. it stood for the collective longing for self-determination and for the democratic consideration and manifestation of change and progress. Is anything left of the revolutionary meaning of freedom in contemporary Europe?
Alternating with the conversations there was live drawing by visual artist en book illustrator Gerda Dendooven (Belgium) and music by classical accordionist Oleg Lysenko (Netherlands), cello player Jole De Baerdemaeker and soprano Elisabeth Sturtewagen (both Belgium).