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Eva Meijer: Depression in Times of Madness - #SoulCare

An interview by Gerlinda Heywegen with Eva Meijer (Dutch spoken)


Just as clearly as in her essay De grenzen van mijn taal, een klein filosofisch onderzoek naar depressie (The borders of my language, a small philosophical study about depression, published by Cossee, 2019) writer Eva Meijer talks about depression in this Winternachten festival programme by Gerlinda Heywegen. On the basis of some film fragments in which depression plays a role, Meijer indicates, among other things, the role language plays in thinking about and showing depression.

Eva Meijer's essay is not a self-help book, autobiographical report or medical publication. She says in this interview: 'I wanted to do something different. I wanted to explore the meaning of depression. I am particularly interested in what the experience of depression actually is. How does it feel to be depressed and can you explain that to others? With the help of language and philosophers and artists, I wanted to capture some of that meaning. The experience of depression, also my own, is central in this."

Winternachten international literature festival The Hague 2021 had as its theme It's up to us. In January of that year writers, poets and word artists from The Netherlands and abroad showed in live streamed programmes how they pay attention in their work to issues like climate justice, women's rights, soul care and activism.

Eva Meijer (Netherlands) is a visual artist, philosopher, writer and singer-songwriter. After publishing short stories and poetry in Dutch literary magazines, her debut novel Het schuwste dier (The Shyest Animal), about coping with a sudden death, appeared in 2011. In Dagpauwoog (Day Peacock's Eye, 2013), the protagonist ends up in a grey area between idealism and terror due to a love of animals. Het vogelhuis (The Birdhouse, 2016) portrays the profound passion for birds of a British woman, Gwendolen Howard. De soldaat was een dolfijn (The Soldier was a Dolphin), an essay about political animals, came out in 2017. In 2018, Meijer was awarded the Halewijn Prize for her oeuvre. After a philosophical treatise on depression, De grenzen van mijn taal (The Limits of my Language), the novel Voorwaarts (Onward), and the academic study When Animals Speak: Towards an Interspecies Democracy (all in 2019), she published the novel De nieuwe rivier (The New River), a magical-realist murder mystery, in 2020.