High Impact: Literature from the Low Countries

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From 14 till 19 January 2013, Flanders House London and the Netherlands Embassy in the United Kingdom present 'High Impact', six top writers from the Low Countries on tour to six cities for six nights of readings and debates to showcase the best 'High Impact' literature from Flanders and the Netherlands in English translation. The tour end with a final gala gathering in London of authors from both the UK and the Low Countries.


The authors are the Low Countries literati: all prize-winners and best-sellers back home, all writing in Dutch but from two different countries – Belgium and the Netherlands. Two of England's closest neighbours producing some of the most exciting literature in Europe, but about whom the English public knows too little and they too little about each other. Now for the first time, and in a unique collaboration, six of the best Dutch-language storytellers are coming together for a rock star-style tour of six English cities – to perform for the English public and to discover what they may (or may not!) have in common.


Sponsored by Flanders House and the Netherlands Embassy in London and curated by Rosie Goldsmith, known in the UK as a champion of international fiction, 'High Impact' is a unique idea with a unique group of writers. The public will hear the Dutch Poet Laureate side by side with Flanders' leading graphic novelist; two global bestsellers, a thriller writer, a celebrated historian and a travel writer – together on stage every night. Selected by Rosie Goldsmith from across Flanders and the Netherlands not only for their brilliant books but also for their wit, wisdom, fluent English and 'High Impact' performance skills, these authors will wow the public with their readings and ideas. Each night a different city, a different theme, a different type of venue (a church, theatre, an arts centre).


And if by the time they reach London for their final gig and the public is still unconvinced of the 'High Impact' of Low Countries Literature, then the impact level will be boosted even further when they perform alongside English literati such as Tracy Chevalier, Deborah Moggach and David Mitchell, themselves famous for writing on Dutch themes.


> The coverage on Cobra.be...



High Impact: Authors

The Low Countries literati are:


Lieve Joris

Whose journalism and non-fiction books on Africa, China, the Middle East and Europe have earned her the reputation as the VS Naipaul or Ryszard Kapuscinski of the Low Countries. Author of the acclaimed 'The Rebel's Hour' (Atlantic, 2008).

'Powerful and timely, intensely imagined' - Paul Theroux


Herman Koch
Former actor and comedy star; best-selling novelist - in the Netherlands and round the world - of the thrilling, chilling mega-hit 'The Dinner' (Atlantic, 2012).
'Proves how powerful fiction can be in illuminating the modern world' - The Economist


Ramsey Nasr

The Dutch Poet Laureate and all-round Renaissance Man (actor, director, poet, journalist and librettist), famed for his beautiful prose, provocative politics and exciting public appearances. 'Heavenly Life' was published by Banipal in 2010.

'With this collection Anglophone readers are introduced to a poet of global scope' - Marilyn Hacker


Peter Terrin

This year's winner of the prestigious AKO Literature Prize and author of the magnificent psychological thriller 'The Guard' (MacLehose Press, 2012).

'A rich and gripping mix of all the ingredients that make for a truly haunting atmosphere' - Writers' Hub


Chika Unigwe

Born in Nigeria, at home in Belgium; poet, short story writer and award-winning novelist of 'On Black Sisters' Street' (Vintage, 2009).

'Exquisitely observed and heartbreaking' - The Guardian


Judith Vanistendael

The Posy Simmonds of Belgium; the bold and brilliant graphic novelist of 'When David Lost His Voice' (Self Made Hero, 2012).

'Big, bleak, brilliant and stark' - The Economist


Plus special guest appearances by Geert Mak, our High Impact superstar historian and essayist; author of 'In Europe' (Harville Secker, 2007) and 'The Bridge (Vintage, 2009); described as 'Peter Ackroyd meets W.G. Sebald'.

High Impact: Cities and venues

Monday 14 January 2013: Oxford
Blackwell's Bookshop

51 Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BQ





Tuesday 15 January 2013: Birmingham

The Anglican Cathedral
Colmore Row

Birmingham B3 2QB




Wednesday 16 January 2013: Liverpool
The Epstein Theatre

Hanover House

85 Hanover Street

Liverpool L1 3DZ




Thursday 17 January 2013: Sheffield

St George's Church Lecture Theatre

17 Mappin Street
Sheffield S1 4DT




Friday 18 January 2013: Norwich

Norwich Arts Centre

St. Benedict's Street
Norwich NR2 4PG




Saturday 19 January 2013: London

The Tabernacle

35 Powis Square

London W11 2AY




High Impact: Organisation

High Impact is a joint commission of the Netherlands Embassy and Flanders House, London.


Flanders House, London

Flanders House is part of the Belgian Embassy, with the role of promoting Flanders in the UK. From the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, the Flemish have their own culture and traditions which they proudly share with the UK.




The Kingdom of the Netherlands Embassy, London

Thousands of Dutch people from the Netherlands have established themselves in the UK. Like the Flemish, the Dutch community is well integrated in British society and works closely with the UK.





High Impact Literature Consultants


Flemish Literature Fund, Antwerp




Dutch Foundation for Literature, Amsterdam




Rosie Goldsmith is a journalist specialising in arts and current affairs, in the UK and abroad. Over 20 years' working for the BBC, she has presented flagship BBC shows like 'Front Row', 'Open Book', 'Profile', 'A World IN Your Ear' and 'Crossing Continents'. She has been the chair of European Literature Night in the UK since its launch in 2009, runs the independent European Literature Network, chairs, curates and promotes arts and literature events in the UK and round the world.


Nick Chapman is a literary events producer, with experience working with both international and UK writers for the British Council and International PEN. In 2012 he co-produced the Poetry Parnassus UK Tour and events for the European Commission with Speaking Volumes Live Literature Productions.


High Impact: Michelle Hutchison's Blog

Michelle Hutchison's blog...

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