“What I am reflecting on is that I have to forgive people, events, time, the world, the country and probably also myself in order to be able to write. Your Clarice Lispector was trying this, I assume, and somehow apparently she managed. Or maybe I should say this: I am writing in order to forgive.”
— Ece Temelkuran (Turkey), Letter to Annelies Beck, 15 August 2016
Jeroen Olyslaegers (b. 1967) is a Flemish columnist, novelist and playwright. Olyslaegers debuted in 1994 with the novel Navel. After a third prose publication, the short story collection Open gelijk een mond, he took some time to write for the stage. He recently wrote the text for Jan Fabre’s 24-hour marathon performance Mount Olympus.
In 2009 Olyslaegers announced a trilogy of popular novels about memory and identity. Two of these have already been published: Wij and Winst. In the winter of 2012 Olyslaegers left his writing desk to join the citizens’ movement Occupy Antwerp. Together with many sympathizers, every Saturday morning he organized a soup kitchen, an initiative that led to the idea of the geefplein (a gift market). Olyslaegers said: ‘Poverty was always an abstract problem for me. I’m a writer: words can be acts, but for me, acts can also be words.’ In 2014 Olyslaegers won the prestigious Flemish Ark Prize of the Free Word. For the jury, Olyslaegers uses “the public forum to denounce distressing social conditions and with that position to go against the mainstream.”