Letters to Poseidon
Cees Nooteboom’s new book, published on 4 October 2012, is called Brieven aan Poseidon (Letters to Poseidon). Is this god still interested in humanity? Does the ruler of the seas still pay attention to the ins and outs of mortal existence? Every autumn, when Cees Nooteboom leaves his summer island, he asks Poseidon for permission to return next year. In his letters, Nooteboom tells tales of his daily life, says what he thinks about the gods and about God, and provides a new perspective on myths.
In an interview with the VPRO-Gids, Nooteboom talked about how he came to write this book: ‘I started a series of observations, short pieces in which I write about the state of the world, about everything around me. They are letters to Poseidon. Why? I was walking across the Viktualienmarkt in Munich one afternoon last year. It was February but the sun was shining, and I thought: Why not? So I sat down outside a café and ordered a glass of champagne. Meanwhile I was thinking about writing these pieces. Messages. But to whom? Then I looked up and saw the name of the restaurant on the facade of the building. Poseidon. Things are handed to you like that, as a gift from reality.’
The German translation – by Helga van Beuningen – was published in September by Suhrkamp: Briefe an Poseidon. The author will be visiting Germany in October: Düsseldorf (18/10), Essen (19/10) and Freiburg (23/10). For further information, click here.
Autumn diary dates, 2012
In addition to the Dutch publication of Brieven aan Poseidon (Letters to Poseidon), two translations of Cees Nooteboom’s works will be published this autumn. MacLehose Press in the UK are publishing Roads To Berlin (translated by Laura Watkinson), a collection of articles that Nooteboom has written about Berlin over the years, and there will be an Italian edition of Het geluid van Zijn Naam: Il suono del Suo nome (translated by Laura Pignatti, Ponte alle Grazie, 27 September).
A series of appearances at home and abroad is also planned for this autumn. In November, Cees Nooteboom will visit Spain (Madrid, 5/11, and Aviles/Asturias, 8/11), followed by Veghel (15/11), Groningen (18/11), Trieste (22-24/11), Zurich (28/11) and Rotterdam (30/11). In December, there is a talk with Margot Dijkgraaf at the library in Amstelveen (2/12) and on 10 December Nooteboom is travelling to Abu Dhabi, before visiting Turnhout on the 15th and 16th. Some appearances in Germany and Austria are planned for 2013: Linz (2/2), Gschwend (21/2), Schwäbisch Hall (22/2) and Freiburg (23/2), followed by Brussels (23 and 24 March).
Alberto Manguel on Cees Nooteboom
‘Cees Nooteboom, one of the most remarkable writers of our time, doesn’t suffer fools gladly. The outstanding characteristic of his writing is its elegant intelligence. Nooteboom is not interested in the contented roundness of a plot, in the rehashing of commonplaces, in facile wordplay.’ Alberto Manguel in The Guardian on the newly published collection of stories, The Foxes Come At Night. Read the full review here. Plus another review in The Irish Times here. MacLehose Press meanwhile interviewed the author on video, which can be seen here.
In the press
The Foxes Come At Night, the English translation of ’s Nachts komen de vossen has received a wonderful review in The Independent: ‘Dutch writer Cees Nooteboom’s short novels are exquisite toys for the broken-hearted, erudite tales that revolve around themes of loss and despair but are never less than playful.’
An article by Esther Schnaber was also published in TS. Tijdschrift voor Tijdschriftstudies about the history of the literary magazine Avenue, which was edited by Cees Nooteboom.
Nooteboom in South America
The XXI. Festival Internacional de Poesía is taking place in Medellín, Colombia. From 2 to 10 July, many international poets will appear at the festival. Jules Deelder represented the Netherlands at the last festival and Cees Nooteboom will be making six public appearances in a variety of locations at this year’s event. He will then travel to Buenos Aires, where a concert will take place at the Consejo on 5 September, featuring music by the Catalan composer Benet Casablancas. One of the compositions to be performed is Six Glosses, a piece for soprano and orchestra based on Nooteboom’s book De omweg naar Santiago (Roads to Santiago). For five days at the beginning of September, Nooteboom will also appear at the Festival Internacional de Literatura Buenos Aires – at which the Spanish translation of ’s Nachts komen de vossen will be presented.
Nooteboom among 10 best travel writers of the century (Newsweek)
In the latest issue of Newsweek Cees Nooteboom is listed as one of the ten best travel writers of the century. Other featured authors are V.S. Naipaul, Paul Theroux, Ryszard Kapuscinski, Colin Thubron and others. Roads to Santiago is regarded to be his best book to date and the magazine says: ‘Better known as a novelist than a travel writer in his native Holland, Nooteboom is the ultimate stylist of the genre. Highly introspective and self-conscious, witty and whimsical, he observes people and places, and his reactions to them, with an originality that is totally arresting – and all without sounding remotely precious (…) Sparkling sentences abound in his works.’
VPRO Bob den Uyl Prize for Cees Nooteboom
Cees Nooteboom has been awarded the VPRO Bob den Uyl Prize for best travel book of the year. The eighth edition of the prize was presented to the author at the Amsterdam bookstore Pied à Terre. The award consists of 7500 euro and is eligible for new Dutch-language travel books and nonfiction. There were 50 entries this year. About Scheepsjournaal the jury says: ‘Weathered, contemplative and concise prose of the nestor of the genre.’ Mr Farah Karimi, director of Oxfam Novib, was the chairman of the jury, which also consisted of writer Natasja van den Berg, HIVOS consultant Erik Nijland and Bob den Uyl biographer Nico Keuning.
Dedica Festival, review in Le Monde
The Dedica Festival in Italy has been a great success. On the Media page you will find a number of photographs of German writer and philosopher Rüdiger Safranski and Dutch photographer Eddy Posthuma de Boer.
At the festival, publisher Emilia Lodigliani of Iperborea became a Knight in Order of Orange-Nassau, a royal award for people who earned special merits for Dutch society. She is the editor and publisher of many Dutch writers, amongst others Cees Nooteboom, Hella Haasse, Kader Abdolah, Multatuli and J. Slauerhoff. So far, she has brought out nine different books by Cees Nooteboom in Italian.
Also, Le Monde published an excellent review of the French editions of Tumba’s and ’s Nachts komen de vossen (Foxes in the Night) which you can read here.
Cees Nooteboom special guest at DEDICA
The 17th edition of DEDICA Festival will be held in Pordenone, Italy, from 12 to 26 March 2011. DEDICA is a festival focusing on an eminent figure of the cultural world without aiming at celebrating him/her, but rather with the stated objective of deepening the knowledge on the artist and on the development of their career. The author’s work is analyzed through different artistic languages: from book presentations to theatre shows, from meetings to concerts, from theme conferences to movie shows, from recitals to exhibitions. Along with the main theme, DEDICAFestival also offers special events specifically targeted at high school students and undergraduates.
The event was launched for the first time in 1995 and since then it has hosted writers such as Claudio Magris, Antonio Tabucchi, Amin Maalouf, Vassilis Vassilikos, Assia Djebar, Anita Desai, Amos Oz, Nadine Gordimer, Paul Auster and Hans Magnus Enzensberger.
The 2011 edition’s protagonist will be the Dutch writer, poet and essayist Cees Nooteboom, acclaimed by international critics as one of the most important and original contemporary European writers. This edition’s theme will be “The quest for something and somewhere else”, whereby the journey is not only seen as a movement across the concrete reality of geographic space in order to reach other places inhabited by other people, but is also a way of rediscovering forgotten inner worlds, meeting with one’s inner self and finding new research paths”.
The programme is rich in appointments and distinguished guests; it includes poetry readings, meetings, the presentation of a new book being published in Italy in the wake of the festival, Avevo mille vite e ne ho preso una sola (Iperborea), theatre shows inspired by Nooteboom’s work, such as his Heinz short story and the essay Verso Santiago, the showing of Heinz Peter Schwerfel’s documentary Hotel Nooteboom, Eddy Posthuma de Boer and Simone Sassen’s photo shows, as well as paintings exhibitions displaying Max Neumann’s work, a special publication called Dedica a Cees Nooteboom, featuring an interview to the writer by the cultural journalist Piet Pyrins, critical reviews by Laszlo Földény, Alberto Manguel and Fulvio Ferrari and a piece of writing by Cees Nooteboom called Un incontro a Recanati.
DEDICAFestival was awarded the Silver Medal by Giorgio Napolitano, President of the Italian Republic, an acknowledgement that will be presented to Cees Nooteboom on 12 March during the opening ceremony, in the presence of Italian authorities and the Dutch Ambassador in Italy, Mr Alphonsus Hermanus Maria Stoelinga.
More information: www.dedicafestival.it.
Two new publications
Two new books by Cees Nooteboom have appeared: Berlijn 1989-2009 , a new and substantially expanded edition of his book about the fall of the Berlin Wall and Het raadsel van het licht, a personal voyage of discovery through the visual arts. Nooteboom has often written about Berlin. In this new edition, which features writing including Berlijnse notities (1991) and Terugkeer naar Berlijn (1997), along with a number of pieces that have not previously been anthologised, Nooteboom presents an overview of his experiences in this city in recent decades. Berlijn 1989-2009 has been published in German by Suhrkamp, in a translation by Helga van Beuningen and Rosemarie Still.
The second publication, Het raadsel van het licht, is a compilation of Nooteboom’s observations and articles about art. The author takes the reader on a tour of his favourite paintings and museums. Het raadsel van het licht is a literary travel guide, a journey through art history and a voyage of discovery into its secrets.
De Standaard der Letteren has said about this book: ‘Het raadsel van het licht is full of interesting facts and refreshing insights, but approaches art primarily through the emotions. Nooteboom does not present himself as an omniscient expert, but as a curious art-lover, who, like so many other modern tourists, visits the big museums, monuments and works of art and attempts to understand what it is about them that attracts him and what they say to him. His book is an honest account of a lifetime’s experience of art and the pleasure it has given him.’
Prijs der Nederlandse Letteren for Cees Nooteboom
On 18 November 2009, Cees Nooteboom received the Prijs der Nederlandse Letteren (Dutch Literature Prize) from Albert II, King of the Belgians. The prize is administered by the Nederlandse Taalunie and is accompanied by a sum of € 40,000. The jury, headed by Flemish emeritus professor Anne Marie Musschoot, called Nooteboom’s oeuvre profound and philosophical. His work is also praised abroad for these same qualities. Nooteboom has many readers in German-speaking countries in particular. The jury stated that the great strength of Nooteboom’s travel stories, and also his novels, is that they respect history, but are never purely realistic.
Two new publications
Two new books by Cees Nooteboom came out in November: Berlijn 1989-2009 , a new and substantially expanded edition of his book about the fall of the Berlin Wall and Het raadsel van het licht, a personal voyage of discovery through the visual arts. Nooteboom has often written about Berlin. In this new edition, which features writing including Berlijnse notities (1991) and Terugkeer naar Berlijn (1997), along with a number of pieces that have not previously been anthologised, Nooteboom presents an overview of his experiences in this city in recent decades. Berlijn 1989-2009 has been published in German by Suhrkamp, in a translation by Helga van Beuningen and Rosemarie Still.
A Visit to the Pope
On 21 November, Pope Benedict XVI is receiving a number of writers and artists from different countries, including Dutch authors Cees Nooteboom and Kader Abdolah. In August, the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, announced that a meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and a large number of modern artists would take place. He announced that this meeting is intended to promote dialogue with the aim of healing the rift that has developed between the Church and modern art. An overview of Nooteboom’s titles that have been translated into Italian is available here.