UCL awards Honorary Doctorate to Cees Nooteboom

UCL Dutch celebrates this recognition for the Dutch author. As a poet, novelist and travel writer whose work has been translated into over thirty languages, it is time that Nooteboom’s work is recognized and honoured in this way in the English-speaking world. Known for his playful novels such as In the Dutch Mountains which still deal with the most profound issues, it is Nooteboom’s resolute, critical Europeanism that is perhaps most significant at the present time.

Cees Nooteboom’s work has been enjoyed by many UCL students, not only of Dutch literature, but of comparative literature and translation studies too. Their world is not unlike that of the narrator of In the Dutch Mountains. ‘What else do I read? Diaries, letters and, best of all, dictionaries. For let us be honest: without the intervention of any thinking agent, language itself is still the greatest communicator.’

Cees Nooteboom will formally receive his doctorate in at UCL’s graduation ceremonies in September 2019.

 

Picture © MacLehose Press

New Dutch Writing campaign kicks off with focus on literary translation

[text from www.thebookseller.com]

The New Dutch Writing campaign launched last week, with a focus on literary translation and presenting a new generation of Dutch authors.

Dutch and British representatives from the world of books and translation gathered to celebrate the launch at The Union Club in Soho on Wednesday evening (3rd July). Speeches were given by Brechje Schwachofer, deputy ambassador of the Dutch Embassy, and Bas Pauw from the Dutch Foundation for Literature.

Pauw said: “New Dutch Writing will focus on presenting a new generation of Dutch authors, an exciting young literature written at the heart of Europe, by Britains closest neighbours on the continent – both geographically and psychologically. A literature that feels familiar and exotic at the same time.  

“The other central theme of the campaign will be literary translation. Literary translation as a vital culture – not as a threshold for foreign authors, not as a nuisance for publishers, but as an intriguing intellectual skill and as a cultural richness. We will give centre stage to the people who make it possible for UK readers to read Dutch books. We will get translators on stage, organise residencies for translators and reach out to the young generation of aspiring translators. The campaign will be celebrating the work of translators and capitalising on the growing interest in international literature among UK readers.”

The launch saw The Union building specially dressed in the New Dutch Writing livery and attendees received goody bags including samplers for forthcoming Dutch books from John Murray and Picador, a gift voucher for new Dutch restaurant Gezellig and a bespoke NDW bicycle bell.

More information here and here.

Three events at UCL Festival of Culture (3-7 June 2019)

UCL’s Department of Dutch was present with three events at this year’s Festival of Culture, an annual festival organised by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities for the wider public.

Christine Sas kicked off on Monday 3rd of July with a Dutch language taster, attended by over 30 visitors.

On Tuesday, Reinier Salverda enlightened his audience in the British Library Pavilion with a discussion of “The Book that killed Colionalism”, Max Havelaar, by Multatuli. A Dutch classic, still relevant to literature, history and politics today, Max Havelaar is the emblem of the Dutch Fair Trade Movement, and its latest English translation has recently been published by the New York Review of Books in its Classics Originals series.

Visitors were also invited to a show and tell session with curator of Dutch Collections Marja Kingma at the British Library to see original books by and about Multatuli from their Dutch Collection.

On Friday of the Festival Week, a group of die-hards joined Ulrich Tiedau in the pouring rain on a Dutch walk through Bloomsbury that took them from the impressive Dutch library at UCL, past Gerard Reve’s former living place, when he unsuccessfully tried to establish himself on the English market in the 1950s, the Elizabeth Anderson Gallery with its connections to Dutch and British feminism, the Eurostar terminal, London’s gateway to the Low Countries, and the many beautiful Dutch and Flemish exhibits of the British Library.

Kingsday

One of the most typical Dutch holidays, after Sinterklaas maybe, is King’s Day. Celebrated since 1885, as Princess’s Day for Princess Wilhelmina, this day has brought a lot of festivities for the people in the Netherlands through the ages. Now that this beautiful day was also celebrated in London, our UCL department of Dutch naturally had to be there!

The orange decorations gave some warmth and happiness to the cold and windy day that was the 27th of April. All around and in the Dutch Centre and Dutch church games were played by children, Dutch snacks were eaten, and music was played. Inside was a live-stream of the Royal Family’s tour through Amersfoort and an auction, outside a flea market. All together, it was a very Dutch feeling.

Vera and I were there to represent UCL, and promote the centenary of the department. With Dutch candy and stroopwafels to win, we challenged people to do a Dutch quiz. Questions included: ‘What are hunnebedden?’ ‘What city is orange in Dutch Monopoly?’ and ‘When was the so-called Golden Age of the Netherlands?’ Lots of people showed interest, although many were scared to enter the competition. However we had a lot of fun, we able to explain about the program and the coming activities. And even some students stopped by!