This year, the Taalunie Playwriting Prize – worth 10.000 euros – has gone to novelist and poet Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer (1968) for his play De advocaat (‘The Lawyer’). The jury stated that “De advocaat balances magisterially on the thin line between tragedy and comedy, realistic drama and meta-consideration, slapstick and emotion.”
The jury praised Pfeijffer’s characters and their language in particular. De advocaat is ambitious: “Pfeijffer meets Shakespeare, meets Pirandello in 21st century Netherlands.” Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer writes not only novels, but also stories, poems, columns, essays, reviews, plays and song lyrics. Until 2004, he worked at Leiden University (specialized in Classical Languages, especially in the work of classical poet Pindarus). In 2014, he won the Libris Literature Prize with his novel La Superba (2013) and in 2016, he received the VSB Poetry Prize for his poetry collection Idyllen. He works and lives in Genua, Italy. La Superba showed Pfeijffer’s politically-engaged side and has been very successful abroad. It has been translated into English, German, Italian and Macedonian; a Romanian translation is in preparation. The novel is also currently being translated into Afrikaans and will be published by Protea Boekhuis ZA.
Taalunie Playwright Prize
The Taalunie Playwright Prize is an annual prize for the best Dutch play of the previous season, performed for the first time in that season. With this award, the Taalunie (‘Language Union’ − a policy organization and knowledge organization for the Dutch language) aims to stimulate the Dutch art of playwriting and Dutch drama.