Friday, November 5, 2010

F. Bordewijk Award for De Bloemen (The Flowers) by Koen Peeters

The F. Bordewijk Award 2010 goes to Koen Peeters for De Bloemen (The Flowers). The jury praises the novel that ‘carefully balances between restrained melancholy and sharp observations’. Earlier, De Bloemen has been longlisted for the AKO Literature Prize, to be awarded on Monday 8 November.

The F. Bordewijk Award is one of the most prestigious Dutch prose awards. It is awarded annually in The Hague by the Jan Campert foundation. Among others, Arnon Grunberg, Frans Kellendonk and Tommy Wieringa were honoured with the prize. Paul Verhaeghen received the award in 2005.

In De Bloemen, Koen Peeters tells us how the lives of grandfathers, fathers and sons can intertwine. He shows us how this world is made by man, and at the same time how little man is makeable himself.

Somewhere around the year 1900. Louis, the youngest member of a farm family is ten years old. He witnesses how his very best friend, a pig, is slaughtered. He instantly decides to sell butter and eggs when he grows up. Which he later does. Louis dreams of starting a big business, but that plan never happens. His son, René, is an exemplary student. He joins the youth movement and finally chooses the path of politics. After a political meeting, he is attacked and badly injured... The son of the third generation, the narrator of this story, starts looking for the traces his forefathers left behind. With De Bloemen, Koen Peeters reinvents the family novel. The result is a subtle as well as a moving story, where nostalgia is carried by the endearing sensitivity and alert intelligence of the writer.

Koen Peeters (1959) was awarded with the Nieuwe-Yang prize for his debut Conversaties met K. (Conversations with K.). Later, he wrote a.o. Bezoek onze kelders (Visit our cellars), De postbode (The postman) (NCR Prize), Het is niet ernstig, mon amour (It’s not serious, my love) (Literature Award of the Province of Flemish Brabant), Acacialaan (Acacia avenue) (longlist AKO Literature Prize), Mijnheer Sjamaan (Mr. Shaman) and the collection of poems Fijne motoriek (Fine motor skills). His highly acclaimed Grote Europese Roman (Great European Novel) was shortlisted for the Libris Literature Prize 2008 and was translated a.o. into Italian, Hungarian and Romanian. Koen Peeters is an editor with the literature magazine Dietsche Warande & Belfort.

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