Summer Brother (the translation of Zomervacht, published by World Editions) just got a raving review in The Guardian and The Observer!
The website 'The Low Countries' just published an extensive article written by journalist and editor Ken Lambeets about both Jaap Robben's novels Summer Brother and You have me to love.
Amazing news! Summer Brother is selected for the longlist of the International Booker Prize 2021! It feels like someone surprised me with a completely unexpected birthday. And gave me a fantastic storm as a present!
Just a few days after Summer Brother was published by WorldEditions in the US and Canada, The New York Times published this raving review.
On March 29th Jaap will appear in the online event of the British Library at the launch of the Dutch Riveter. Together with Simone Atangana Bekono, Karin Amatmoekrin and Sam Garrett.
Almost everyone did something during the lockdown months that they didn’t get around to before. Jaap translated the picture book 'Das Neinhorn' (The No-corn) - by German author Marc-Uwe Kling and illustrator Astrid Henn - into Dutch. It’s a book that cannot be compared to any other picture book and is bound to put a smile on your face.
The 18-part series Po Polska appeared in Trouw newspaper, where Jaap wrote about the ‘silencemen’ a.k.a. the four Polish handymen who helped renovate his house. To conclude his quest for contact, Jaap travelled home with them to Poland in December 2019, to meet their families. A kind of driving-home-for-Christmas experience in a speeding Polish handyman van.
De Nieuwe Oost Wintertuin – a cultural production company - came up with an idea that is as simple as it is brilliant. And absolutely corona-proof. In the bus shelters you would normally find posters announcing their festival, but these are replaced with the individual chapters of a story. Last summer, I received the honourable request to write such a story: 'Biography of a Fly'. By bike or on foot, you can follow three different routes through the city along the 25 chapters of my story about the life of a fly.
In the summer of 2020 Jaap investigated 'the border'. At the request of the Erfgoedfestival and the Grenslandmuseum in Dinxperloo he took to the road. In search of the line that we now carelessly cross. That line that is hardly visible in the landscape anymore. For years Jaap has been passing the former German border building between Beek-Ubbergen and Wyler and so he went looking for the people who now live there. Thisis how he came into contact with a Syrian woman named Delvin. She and all her fellow residents had to risk their lives to cross the border into Europe. And now they live here, right on a border. How does she experience this line that is invisible to us?
Jaap was a guest for the third time during the German literature festival Literarischer Sommer in Neuss. This time he will be interviewed in connection with the series Kriegsende oder Befreiung that he wrote in the spring of 2020 for the Neue Rhein Zeitung and Deutschlandfunk. On 3 September he will talk to Christine Breitschopf in the Stadtbibliothek Neuss.
Last year Jaap joined a Dutch chat show monthly to read poetry. For each episode hewent to the Dutch poetry centre in search of poems around a particular theme. Allepisodes can be found on Uitzending Gemist (Missed Broadcast).
Many people go to sleep these days without anyone wishing them goodnight, so I started the project Dichter aan de Lijn (Poet on the Line) together with VPRO MONDO TV and Poetry International. On 11 April I talked about it on TV and a clip was shown of a series VPRO television is making about these conversations. Since then, the requests have been pouring in, you can sign up here.
In recent weeks and months, I’ve been working on a special writing project. This year the 75th anniversary of operation Market Garden to liberate Holland from the German occupiers will be commemorated and celebrated.
The American magazine The Literary Review published a glowing reviewof the English translation of Birk, made by David Doherty.
Publisher PHEI will be publishing the whole Suzie Ruzie series in a Chinese translation, after earlier translations in French and Danish. Last year ‘Suzie Ruzie in het diepe’ was awarded the Prize of the Children and Youth Jury in Flanders.
Booklist is the magazine of the American Library Association and they published a wonderful review by Alexander Moran of 'You have me to love', the English translation of Birk.
While Zomervacht (Summer Brother) was published in Holland and Flanders, the translation of Birk was released in the United States and Canada.Soon after came the fantastic news that 'You have me to love' was chosen by the prestigious Brooklyn Book Festival in New York as one of the five best debuts published in the US last year. In both translation and original English. What do you know! In the P.S. of the message they asked me whether I’d like to be a guest at the festival. ‘Ehm... yes I would!'
My day... or what I write, my millennium even, couldn’t go wrong after this post about Birk by one of my favourite authors, the Irish Colm Tóibín.
On 3 October, together with Annelies Verbeke, I will be a guest at the Ilkley Literature Festival in England. With more than 8,000 visitors, it’s one of the largest literary festivals in England, held in a tiny village in Yorkshire. Annelies and I will be interviewed about the translations of 30 Days and Birk published by World Editions.
The first review about Birk in a German newspaper. And what a review it is. I spent the rest of the day yodelling 'Jawohl, jawohl und Sauerkraut'.
A while ago I received a distinguished phone call. Did I want to take part in the European Literature Night at the British Library in London? And yes, during the European Literature Festival on 11 May 2016 about new translated European literature. That evening I will be a guest together with the Slovenian Gabriela Babnik, the Turkish writer Burhan Sönmez, the Danish Dorthe Nors, Alek Popov from Bulgaria and the fantastic Peter Verhelst from Belgium. And so me too. We were chosen from more than65 nominated authors. The programme starts at 18.30 in the British Library. In the afternoon at 14.00, I will also join a panel discussion on extremes of place and psyche for your characters atthe Open University.
One of London's finest bookshops chose 'You have me to love' as their book of the month for March. And so there’s this lovely piece on their website, there’s this shop window for a month and you get a free cup of coffee when you buy the book. Now I ask you!