Father’s Day: Alejandro Zambra and Pepijn Lanen

Tue 11.06.2024
20:00 - 21:30
Zambra Lanen


meet the author, book presentation


presale: €10/7 (€12 supporting united stages) - at the door: €12/9 (€14 supporting foyer asbl)


the preferential rate offers a €3 discount for all who feel like they need it.


in english

Meet the author

The meetings with writers at Passa Porta, prepared with passion, courage and thoroughness, are more than simply the presentation of literary works. We seek to achieve a genuine connection between writer and reader, and among readers themselves.

Go to overview

Two days after Father’s Day, we are extending a special invitation to two writing fathers. Alejandro Zambra, one of the best-known contemporary Chilean authors, became a father at forty-two, which completely reshaped his life. His new book Literatura Infantil is an autobiographical palette and exploration of his thoughts, impressions, and poems inspired by his son Silvestre and his own relationship with his father. Joining him is Pepijn Lanen, a writer, rapper, and fellow father, as they discuss the common experiences that unite them as dads.

In his previous novel, Chilean Poet, Alejandro Zambra tells the story of Gonzalo, a poet who struggles with being a stepfather to his lover’s son. Now Zambra has become a father himself. In Literatura Infantil, he dives deeper into the topic of fatherhood in a blend of fiction, essay, and poetry to (re)discover his relationship with his son and his father. Zambra navigates between the roles of father and son, resulting in a beautiful, surprising read which sheds light on the challenges and joys of being a father.

Playing games with his son transports Zambra back to his own childhood, making him reflect on his relationship with his father. While Silvestre’s birth profoundly impacts his current life, it also casts a new light on his past experiences. Zambra shares diary excerpts and letters to his son, reminisces about fly-fishing and watching football with his father. Not only does he tell us about his own life, but he also shares other beautiful stories of characters who have been touched by his fatherhood in their own way. The book is filled with questions many fathers are wondering, and sometimes provides an answer to them.

As a father of four, Pepijn Lanen wrote an intimate and candid portrait of parenthood in his book Vad3r, which is both deeply relevant and universally relatable. In his podcast V4der, he talks to other parents to try to figure out parenthood together. This spring, his new novel Gezeik was released, a whimsical road novel about ex rapper and struggling midlifer Aad, who forgets an important family weekend and tries everything in his power to get to his wife and children in time. Along the way, however, there are many unexpected obstacles that turn his journey into an adventurous odyssey.

What can these two writing fathers from two different continents learn from each other? Join us on June 11 to find out.

‘Being a father is about letting yourself win until the day the defeat is real.’
Alejandro Zambra

about the authors

Alejandro Zambra is considered one of the best Chilean writers of the current generation. He made his debut with Bonsai (2008) followed by acclaimed works such as Ways of Going Home (2013), My documents (2015) and Chilean Poet (2022). His stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Granta, McSweeney’s, among others. His work has been translated into many languages and has won international awards. He is father to Silvestre.

Pepijn Lanen, apart from being an urban science fiction novelist, is also a rapper and lyricist with De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig, a Dutch hip hop group. He made his literary debut with Sjeumig, followed by Naamloos, Het wapen van Sjeng and Vad3r. He is also host of the podcast V4der, in which he discusses fatherhood with other parents. His new novel Gezeik was published in March. He is father to Blake, Mei, Liu, and George.

Org. Passa Porta

pictures: Alejandra Zambra © Mabel Maldonado, Pepijn Lanen © Sandder Lanen