04 Passa Porta Projet Courage 1612 C Lessire 1

In these troubled times, we asked Belgian and international authors what the notion of courage inspired in them. Their answers have been scattered in the public space: it’s up to you to find them!

No need to draw up the long list of events that, without the ongoing pandemic, would have brought us together this autumn and winter at Passa Porta. Instead, we decided to step outside for an all-new project: COURAGE.

We invited authors we admire to write a few lines about courage. A memory, the personal or even cultural meaning it has, a micro-story, an anecdote or a more metaphysical reflection … They were given carte blanche. Marie Desplechin, Rachida Lamrabet, Geert van Istendael, Chika Unigwe, Ryoko Sekiguchi, Simon Johannin ... Many authors responded to our invitation. In these times of resistance and deprivation, their stories and reflections are a source of comfort.

Visual artist Reinout Hiel helped to give the project tangible form.

Boards, birdhouses, bookmarks

You can’t miss them if you wander through the parks and squares of Brussels: large wooden boards have been set up there for your attention. The messages of our authors can be read in Dutch, French, English, Arabic or Italian ... from the Abbaye de la Cambre to the Parc du Cinquantenaire via the Baudouin, Scheutbos and Marie-José parks ...

Like little sparks of light in winter, hundreds of birdhouses have been set up on the fronts of cultural centres, bookshops and libraries … These Passa Porta story birdhouses are easy to recognize. The pages of an open book serve as a roof, ensuring the short stories of our authors are well sheltered and softly lit.

To take a little COURAGE home with you, the project features a series of ten sustainable wooden bookmarks, on which the words of our authors have been transcribed. Available at the Passa Porta Bookshop and at various partner locations (see the list below), these bookmarks are meant to be collected, or given as gifts to your loved ones.

Lastly, you can read and reread all the texts anywhere anytime and in three languages in our online magazine.

Passa Porta has prepared a caring, luminous and inspired winter for you: a COURAGEous winter.


photos © caroline lessire