Antjie Krog & Ellen Deckwitz: Dutch East-Indies and South-Afrka, history in poems
How can literature serve a greater understanding of history? Ellen Deckwitz (1982) wanted to write a poetry collection about her grandmother's life during the dying days of the Dutch East Indies and decided she could not do so without traveling to Indonesia herself. The resulting De Steen Vreest Mij (2011) earned her the C. Buddingh' Prize for best poetry debut. One of the most important poets of her generation, she is a welcome guest at literary venues. Deckwitz writes about history in poems that render its events palpable.
Over her storied career, South African writer and journalist Antjie Krog (1952) has been deliberating on the question whether the power of words can stand up to the power of actions. Writing in Afrikaans and English, many of Krog's books and poetry collections have been published or translated into English, including Country of my Skull, A Change of Tongue, and Lady Anne: A Chronicle in Verse.
After the end of apartheid, Krog started writing about the possibility of reconciliation with a great sense of faith. She believed it to possible as long as everybody's stories would be heard, yet now she encounters the limitations of language more and more, in both society as well as her own work. Krog's work has won many awards, such as South Africa's Hertzog Prize and, in the Netherlands, the Gouden Ganzeveer, which she accepted in 2018.
On Friday 15 February, Ellen Deckwitz and Antjie Krog took the B-Unlimited stage to discuss what literature can contribute to historiography. Their moderator is John Jansen van Galen, who has made great contributions to the history of decolonization. (Dutch /Afrikaans spoken.)
This program was curated by Toef Jaeger (Writers Unlimited).
Book sales at the venue by De Vries Van Stockum.