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Paul Demets

Paul Demets - foto Stephan Vanfleteren
Paul Demets - foto Stephan Vanfleteren

(Belgium, 1966) received the Jan Campert Prize for his collection of poetry De Klaverknoop, in which he searches for mankind and every image is laden and meaningful, without making the poetry impenetrable. For his debut De papegaaienziekte (The Parrot Disease, 1999) he received the Prize for Literature of the Province of East Flanders in 2001. He not only writes poetry, but is also a poetry critic for De Standaard, Awater, Poëziekrant and Ons Erfdeel, and essayist. Demets' collection De bloedplek (The Bloodstain, 2011) was awarded the Herman de Coninck Prize, both by the jury and by the public. From the beginning of 2016 until the end of 2019, Demets was countryside poet of East Flanders. As a result, two collections of poetry will be published in the spring of 2020. And he is working on a biography of the Flemish writer and painter Paul Snoek. About poetry he wrote in Vrij Nederland: "I mainly want to see, hear, feel and taste poetry now. Close watching, listening, feeling, tasting."

(WN 2020)

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  • Winternachten 2020

    Schrijversfeest (Writers' Fest)

    With: Aad Meinderts, Alistair Payne, Gideon Samson, Jasper Albinus, Joke Hermsen, Marente de Moor, Noraly Beyer, Oleg Lysenko, Paul Demets, Robert van Asten, Stefan Hertmans, Tijn Wybenga, Tjitske Jansen

    The Schrijversfeest (Writers' Fest) is a festive program with readings and musical performances accompanying the awarding of the four literary prizes of the City of The Hague by Robert van Asten, alderman for Culture. As laudatio givers you will see and hear writer and philosopher Joke Hermsen, poet Tjitske Jansen and NRC literary editor Thomas de Veen. Musical odes will be performed by classical accordeonist Oleg Lysenko, piano player and composer Tijn Wybenga and trumpet player Alistair Payne. The opening poem will be read by poet Jasper Albinus; host will be Noraly Beyer.

    A regular feature is the finale of the educational project Spot on Young Poets: the finalists, secondary school students from The Hague, read poems they wrote during school workshops. Among them Mirle Wittekoek, who won the Young Campert Prize last year. The audience determines which of the finalists wins this award for a young Hague poet this time.

    Writer, poet and essayist Stefan Hertmans wins the Constantijn Huygens Prize for his entire body of work. Hertmans achieved his big breakthrough in 2013 with the novel Oorlog en terpentijn (War and Terpentine). The book is a delicate and intense ode to his grandfather, who grew up in poverty, fought at the front in World War I, and lost the love of his life too soon. He worked through his grief by painting.

    Hertmans has been a highly respected Dutch literary writer for much longer. According to the jury, since his 1981 debut with the experimental prose book Ruimte (Space), he has built up a body of work that covers almost every genre. His collected poetry runs to about 1,000 pages, published as Muziek voor de overtocht (Music for the Crossing). His prose comprises novels, stories, as travel book and essays. He has also written theatre texts and published notable monographs about philosophy and visual art.

    Paul Demets (1966) wins the Jan Campert Prize for his volume of poetry De Klaverknoop (The Shamrock Knot), a smashing collection in which each image is loaded and meaningful without making the poetry impenetrable. Demets' big achievement is knowing how to tie up the language without constricing the reader. These poems keep on sizzling in your mind.

    Marente de Moor (1972) wins the F. Bordewijk Prize for her novel Foon. The tragic attempts of man to control, comprehend and direct nature lie at the heart of her work. It expresses a great love of science and a deeply felt understanding of the futiliy of human endeavour. She resolutely leads her reades to the edge of the woods, well knowing that sooner or later, something will happen to call forth the bears. Foon is a masterfully written novel of ideas about humans who are less and less able to stand the mysteries of existence, written by one of the most idiosyncratic authors writing in the Dutch language.

    Gideon Samson (1985) wins the biannual Nienke van Hichtum Prize for his book Zeb. The book's freakish incidents are served up as simple logic in an otherwise completely realistic environment. The disruption mostly affects the mind of the reader - an effect that is happy, funny and playful but also covers up an ominous feeling of alienation. Zeb. adds a unique and absurdist work to the Dutch youth literature canon.

    This program is a collaboration with the Jan Campert Foundation / Literature Museum. In Dutch.