The jury of the 2017 European Literature Prize has chosen to award the prize to British author Max Porter and his Dutch translator Saskia van der Lingen for Verdriet is het ding met veren (De Bezige Bij), the Dutch translation of the novel Grief Is the Thing with Feathers. Chair of the jury Anna Enquist will present the prize to Porter and Van der Lingen on Thursday 2 November in Het Koorenhuis. Prior to the ceremony, the Crossing Border festival will be officially opened by Deputy Mayor Joris Wijsmuller, The Hague’s alderman for Culture, followed by a performance of pianist Matteo Myderwyk. Porter and van der Lingen will be interviewed by Nina Weijers. Peter Bergsma is tonight’s moderator.
Grief Is the Thing with Feathers tells the story of a young family in London. The mother dies suddenly, leaving the father with his two young sons. Then a crow moves in. It behaves as a busybody, friend, babysitter, consoler and therapist. ‘I won’t leave until you don’t need me any more,’ it tells them. The story takes the form of a prose poem, in short fragments spoken by Dad, the Boys and Crow by turns.
The author will receive a sum of €10,000 and the translator €5,000. Jury members praised the ingenuity of the novel, which moves the reader in a highly original way without being sentimental for a moment. They were also impressed by the resourcefulness of the translator, who made use, for example, of the fact that Dutch is rich in bird metaphors.
20.15 – 20.25: Official opening by Deputy Mayor Joris Wijsmuller, The Hague’s alderman for Culture
20.25 – 20.30: Introduction by Peter Bergsma
20.30 – 20.40: Presentation of the jury report and European Literature Prize by Anna Enquist
20.40 – 20.55: Word of thanks by Max Porter & Saskia van der Lingen
21.00 – 21.20: Matteo Myderwyk
21.25 – 22.05: Nina Weijers in conversation with Max Porter & Saskia van der Lingen
22.15 – 23.15: End