Olga Tokarczuk and the Netherlands (NL Embassy in PL)

Photograph by Łukasz Giza.

Jaag je ploeg over de botten van de doden, the Dutch translation of Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych by Nobel Prize winner Olga Tokarczuk, has been nominated for the Europese Literatuurprijs 2021, an award for the best European novel published in Dutch translation in 2020. But did you know that Tokarczuk already has a close relationship with the Netherlands? In early 2007, for example, she was Writer in Residence of the Dutch Foundation for Literature in Amsterdam. She performed research there for her book Bieguni (translated in Dutch as De rustelozen), which won the Polish Nike Award in 2008 and the Man Booker International Prize in 2018. Discussing her book, Tokarczuk said that it “incorporates elaborate details about the history of anatomy, a science that finds its foundation in the Netherlands of the seventeenth century. Because of my residency in Amsterdam, I was able to check all kinds of details.” Tokarczuk’s research led her to several of Amsterdam’s museums, antiquarian bookshops and the reconstructed anatomical theatre of the university in Leiden. “Looking back,” Tokarczuk wrote, “this has been a very creative, intensive and good time for me, for which I am very thankful.” In addition, Tokarczyk was Writer in Residence at the NIAS in 2009.

Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych was translated into Dutch by Charlotte Pothuizen and Dirk Zijlstra. Bieguni was translated by Greet Pauwelijn.

The anatomical theatre in Leiden on a print from the seventeenth century.

*I originally wrote this post for the social media outlets of the Dutch Embassy in Poland. This was post no. 12.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *