DEDICAted to Cees Nooteboom
Those lucky enough to find themselves in the Italian town of Pordenone between the 12th and the 26th of March may find ample diversion in the 17th DEDICA Festival, which this year is dedicated to the great Cees Nooteboom, novelist, poet, travel writer and art critic.
Each year the DEDICA Festival focuses on one significant cultural figure, aiming to deepen the body of knowledge on their work, analyzing it through different mediums, including concerts, art exhibitions and readings. The event was first held in 1995 and has since hosted writers Paul Auster, Nadine Gordimer and Claudio Magris amongst others. More information can be found on both the festival’s and Mr Nooteboom’s websites.
The festival will include a theatre show based on Nooteboom’s short story, “Heinz”, which will be published in English by MacLehose Press in June as part of the collection The Foxes Come At Night. The winner of the 2010 Golden Owl Award, The Foxes Come At Night includes eight stories translated by Ina Rilke, a pre-eminent translator from Dutch, French and Flemish who won the Scott Moncrieff in 2002 for Dai Sijie’s much-loved Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress:
Set in the cities and islands of the Mediterranean, and linked thematically, the eight stories in Foxes read more like a novel, a meditation on memory, life and death. Their protagonists collect and reconstruct fragments of lives lived intensely, and now lost, crystallized in memory or in the detail of a photograph. In “Paula”, the narrator evokes the mysterious, brief life of a woman he once loved; in “Paula II”, the same woman is aware of the man thinking of her. No longer a body, she is slowly fading into the distance, remembering the time they spent together, and his fear of the black night when the foxes appear. And yet the tone of these stories is far from pessimistic: it seems that death is nothing to be afraid of.
In October 2012 MacLehose Press will be publishing Nooteboom’s Berlin 1989 – 2009, a meditation on the fall of the Berlin Wall and an overview of his experiences in the city. It is currently being translated by Laura Watkinson, whose blog can be found at www.laurawatkinson.com.