Writer, illustrator, poet and performer Joke van Leeuwen is the new Guest Writer of the University of Groningen. Through three lectures and a public interview to be held during the academic year 2020-2021, as a ‘Nederbelg’ (a Dutch person living in Belgium), she will explore both sides of the border as well as the relationship between text and image and modern and historical sexual expressions. In addition, she will hold seminars for a select group of students.
Joke van Leeuwen is an exceptionally versatile author. She writes novels, poetry and children’s books as well as drawing and performing. Her work is frequently translated and regularly receives awards. During the opening evening, Professor of Modern Dutch Literature Mathijs Sanders will interview van Leeuwen about her work and passion for literature and art. In three public lectures, van Leeuwen will discuss three different topics: her background as a Dutch person living in Belgium, the ways in which text and image can influence one another and the modern and historical expressions of sex and passion. In the seminars, she will guide students in writing short texts. The students will get to work with writing different genres and styles, dialogue and humour and clear explanations of complex knowledge.
Joke van Leeuwen was born in The Hague, grew up in Amsterdam, moved to Brussels when she was 13 years old and later went on to live in Maastricht and Antwerp. She grew up in a family in which there was a great deal of singing, music and acting. She studied graphic arts at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and the LUCA School of Arts (Sint-Lukas) Campus in Brussels, and went on to study History at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. She devotes herself to writing, drawing and cabaret, for children as well as adults. She writes prose and poetry, draws, makes theatre productions and puts on performances. Text and image cannot be separated in Joke van Leeuwen’s work: they strengthen and supplement one another and their stories are regularly intertwined. She has received many prizes for her work, including the C. Buddingh’ Prize in 1994 for her poetry collection Laatste lezers, the Theo Thijssen Prize in 2000 for her children’s books, the prestigious Gouden Ganzenveer Prize in 2010, the AKO Literature Prize in 2013 for her novel Feest van het begin and the Constantijn Huygens Prize for her entire body of work.
Since 1986, the University of Groningen has appointed a Guest Writer each year, to give public lectures and a series of seminars. Previous guest writers at the University of Groningen include Dick Hillenius, Doeschka Meijsing, Willem Wilmink, Monica van Paemel, Willem Jan Otten, Gerrit Krol, Nelleke Noordervliet, Bernlef, Rutger Kopland, Joost Zwagerman, Thomas Rosenboom, Bas Heijne, Koos van Zomeren, Tonnus Oosterhoff, Marjolijn Februari, Esther Jansma, Kader Abdolah, Arthur Japin, Annejet van der Zijl, Hans Aarsman, Marjoleine de Vos, Joost de Vries, Ellen Deckwitz, Auke Hulst and most recently, Edward van de Vendel (2019-2020).
The Guest Writer programme is organized by the University of Groningen and Studium Generale Groningen.
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