Short and sweet
In order to attend the event, you will be required to have a Covid Safe Ticket. With this CST, social distancing and the wearing of a mask will no longer be mandatory (although the mask is still strongly recommended).
Good news for lovers of short stories and tight prose writings: Annelies Verbeke is not giving up writing. Even better: she will be present at a new edition of Kort, renamed Short and Sweet. An evening full of unsettling stories and compact prose with special representatives of the genre: the Russian master storyteller Maxim Osipov, children’s author Annet Schaap and the writer of ‘Te korte verhalen’ (Too short stories), Joke van Caesbroeck.
Maxim Osipov (b. 1963) is one of the most important voices in contemporary Russian literature. Although he can get a bit touchy when his work, as so often, gets compared to Chekhov’s, but his psychological insight, his ability to create catchy characterization, his compassion and his ironic gaze make the comparison obvious. In his latest collection of short stories – translated in Dutch as De wereld is niet stuk te krijgen – he shows a Russia plunged in despair where everyone is busy trying to survive. At the same time, the stories are declarations of love to that same impossible country. Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich, an early fan, has praised his work as ‘a merciless diagnosis of Russian life’.
Annelies Verbeke (b. 1976) is the patron saint of the short story in our corner of the world. Since her debut, the international bestseller Slaap!, she has produced a rich and diverse oeuvre, from award-winning novels like Dertig dagen to acclaimed short-story collections like Halleluja. It is this genre that ‘fits her like a glove’ – according to the newspaper de Volkskrant. In her latest collection, Treinen en Kamers, she interweaves – as ambitiously as ever – four millennia of literature from around the world. Inspired by stories from world literature before 1900, she wrote fifteen stories.
Annet Schaap (b. 1965) made her debut with Lampje, a fabled novel for all ages that has conquered the hearts of more than 130,000 readers and was awarded the Gouden Griffel, the Woutertje Pieterse Prijs and the Boekenleeuw, among others. The book was published in 22 countries and received acclaim and awards everywhere, including the Premio Strega Ragazze e Ragazzi in Italy and the Carnegie Medal in the UK. At Short and Sweet, Annet Schaap will read from her new book, De Meisjes, a collection of quirky adaptations of familiar fairytales.
Joke Van Caesbroeck (b. 1987) is a cult writer with a wide audience. That such a thing exists is a marvel in itself, that we can read her very (very) short stories every week in the culture supplement of De Standaard is a gift. Her more or less autobiographical stories are delightful little disruptors amid the issues of everyday life. Her stories have been collected in Ik ben gratis maar oneetbaar and Onmens, two editions that are now so rare that Joke will probably never be rid of her cult status.
Lucky Fonz III (1981) grew in recent years into one of the Netherlands' best known and most appreciated songwriters and live acts. Thanks to intensive tours in many foreign countries he also reached a wide and varied audience. The Guardian thinks this of him: 'awkwardly funny, but his songs are so sincere and stunningly beautiful, he can take your breath away' and our very own Jan De Smet (De Nieuwe Snaar) sees it this way: 'the album Multimens by Lucky Fonz III had the same effect on me as when I first heard records by Jaap Fisher, Armand, Drs. P, Jan De Wilde, Raymond, Hugo Matthysen, Luc De Vos or Frank Vander linden. I admit: that was all a long time ago, but in more recent times my ears were never stimulated like that again.' A fixture among our northern neighbors, a secret tip to be discovered here!