Last night (Monday, October 28) the ‘AKO Literatuurprijs’ was awarded in Museum Beelden aan Zee in Scheveningen. The winner of this important Dutch literary prize is 61 year old author Joke van Leeuwen.
The jury described her book Feest van het begin (Feast of the Beginning) as ‘a subtle play on names and facts from French history’. The story is based on the memoires of Charles-Henry Sanson, the executioner who lived in Paris from 1739 to 1806 and killed thousands of people.
Van Leeuwen, whose debut was in the seventies, received several literary prizes, most of them for her children’s books. This is the first time she won the prestigious AKO literatuurprijs.
In her word of thanks at the end of the ceremony, Van Leeuwen asked the media to stop drawing a distinction between two groups of nominees: Flemish Belgians and Dutch. Van Leeuwen states that she covers both language areas. She was born in The Hague and studied in Brussels. She still lives in Belgium. She feels part of both countries and it is her wish to bridge Belgium and the Netherlands. Here’s the quote that made it to this ‘Quote of the Week’:
‘Hou op met een verdeling te maken tussen Vlamingen en Nederlanders. Ik bestrijk het hele taalgebied’
‘Stop drawing a distinction between Flemish Belgians and Dutchmen. I cover the whole language area.’
During a live broadcast of the national news Joke van Leeuwen was asked what she intends to do with the 50.000 euro prize money. Her answer could easily become a ‘quote of the week’ in its own:
‘I don’t believe people earning salaries five times the Balkenende norm* will be asked the same question. I am a ZZP-er** and I can certainly use the money’.
Direct Dutch and the AKO literatuurprijs
This year for the first time, expats were asked to give their opinion about books on the long list for the AKO literatuurprijs. Direct Dutch was asked to lead two book clubs. Read the short report or enroll for our upcoming book club!
* A maximum of 130 % of a prime minister’s salary to voluntarily limit the salaries of politicians and public officials, named after premier of the Netherlands from 2002 to 2010 Jan Peter Balkenende.
** ZZP: Zelfstandige Zonder Personeel (entrepreneur without personnel)
Foto uitreiking: deredactie.be