September 25th-27th, 2003

Historically, the Netherlands, which is situated on the North Sea, has had frequent contact with St. Petersburg and Russia. During this three-day program, one of several offered during the ‘Days of Dutch Culture,’ seven Dutch writers will meet their Russian readers. All seven writers have recently had books translated into Russian and all seven have some kind of connection with Russia, whether it be the language or the chosen subject matter or location of their books.

Thursday, September 25th

Anna Achmatova Museum
34 Fontanka, St. Petersburg
tel. (812) 2721811
no entrance fee

5:00 PM

Opening of the Exhibition, ‘Kurt Löb-A Dutch Painter Illustrates Russian Literature’ - Reception

Kurt Löb

Kurt Löb

Artist Kurt Löb was born in Berlin in 1926 and immigrated to the Netherlands as a young boy. He studied at the Academy for Visual Arts in Amsterdam and became a talented sketcher and painter. In 1960, he began illustrating a great many books, especially of translations of Russian literary classics. The exhibition includes several of his illustrations and a number of original sketches. The artist’s son-in-law, Joeri Vrooland, will open the exhibition.

6:00 PM

Contemporary Dutch and Russian Prose: Mariët Meester, Marina Ljudvigova, Pieter Waterdrinker

In Russian language; no entrance fee. With musical interlude

Two Dutch novelists, Mariët Meester en Pieter Waterdrinker will read from their novels Bokkezang (Amphora 2003) en Liebmans ring (Limbus 2003), which were recently translated into Russian. Russian novelist Marina Ljudvigova, who will read from her debuting novel Wild game, will join the Dutch novelists in a discussion of themes which their books and their lives have in common: the search for love and a lover and writing in a country other than one’s country of origin.

Mariët Meester

Mariët Meester

Mariët Meester (1958) first received recognition with her travel book on her stay with the gypsies in Romania, the Romi. Later, she established herself as a novelist. Her novel Bokkezang tells a unique love story. The main female character in Bokkezang recounts her extraordinary life on the French countryside to her listening lover. The novel is characterized by sensuality, androgyny and a craving for freedom.

Pieter Waterdrinker

Pieter Waterdrinker

Pieter Waterdrinker (1961) studied Dutch law and Russian in Amsterdam and has been living in Moscow since 1996, where he works as a correspondent for a major Dutch newspaper. In addition to his novels, he compiled a book with ‘notes from Moscow’. In his novel Liebmans ring, the romantic and fantastical Johannes Liebman, one day finds a photograph of a woman who is the spitting image of his recently deceased wife. Her look-alike lives in Russia. Liebman goes to St. Petersburg to search for his wife’s look-alike and in searching, finds himself caught in a labyrinth.
Marina Ljudvigova, born 1966 in St. Petersburg, graduated form the Art Department of the Serov Art College and the Department of History at St. Petersburg University. She worked as a curator and later as a research assistant in the Hermitage Museum. From 1991 to 2001 she worked in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, as a librarian, translator and restorer in antique galleries. Her debuting novel, Wild Game, describes the game as a passion, obsession and mania, as gambling and cool-headed plotting.

Friday, September 26th, 6:00 PM

Literary café de Zwerfhond
5 Iskusstv Sq., St. Petersburg
tel. (812) 3157764
in Russian language; no entrance fee

Poetry from the Netherlands and St. Petersburg: Kees Verheul, Toon Tellegen, Alexander Koejner, Tatjana Voltskaya

Two unique poetry publications will be presented at this evening program. The latest issue of the magazine Zvezda has given extra attention to contemporary Dutch poetry by publishing the work of three poets: Kees Ouwens (1941), Toon Tellegen (1941) en René Puthaar (1964).

Toon Tellegen

Toon Tellegen

Toon Tellegen will read several poems, as well as a passage from his novel De trein naar Pavlovsk en Oostvoorne, which will appear in its Russian translation in September 2003 from Hyperion. Composed of stories told by his Russian grandfather (which are quite exotic for the Dutch), this novel by Toon Tellegen, who is known for his poetry and children’s books, is beautifully and poignantly written. Prior to the translation of his novel, the children’s book Bijna iedereen kon omvallen, was also published in Russian (Zakharov, 2001).
This month, the Saint Petersburg University Press will release De pen op papier, an extensive anthology of poetry and prose by Martinus Nijhoff, one of the greatest Dutch poets of the 20th century. The novelist, essayist, Slavic studies scholar and translator from Russian into Dutch, Kees Verheul (1941), will present the Nijhoff anthology and read several poems from it. Verheul will also read from his book, Dans om de wereld (Zvezda, 2002), in which he tells of his friendship with Joseph Brodsky. Verheul knew Brodsky personally - his book is not only an essay on Brodsky’s work as a translator and poet, but also an account of a friendship. Prior to Dans om de wereld, Kees Verheul’s novel Villa Bermond was also published in Russian (Zvezda, 2000).
The celebrated poet Alexander Koesjner, who is also well-known in the Netherlands, will read from his work. Lastly, Verheul, Tellegen, Koesjner en the editor of Zvezda, Andrej Ariev, will discuss the poetry of the Netherlands and St. Petersburg. Poet Tatjana Voltskaya will lead the discussion and present the evening’s programme.

Saturday, September 27th, 2:00 PM

Majakovski Library
46 Fontanka, St. Petersburg
tel. (812) 1125242
In Russian language; no entrance fee

Samuel Lurje interviews Margriet de Moor

Margriet de Moor

Margriet de Moor

Margriet de Moor (1941) is one of the greatest contemporary writers in the Netherlands. Her work has been translated in many languages and her last novel, Kreutzersonate, was recently published in Russian by Limbus Press. St. Petersburg publicist Samuel Lurje will interview her.
Margriet de Moor’s novels are often characterized by their musicality, both in subject matter and style. The title of her last novel, Kreutzersonate, is a refined play on words: it refers to the string quartet by Janáček, the novella by Tolstoj and the sonate by Beethoven. Kreutzersonate is a short, compelling novel about love, passion and jealousy. A blind music critic falls in love with a young violinist. His infatuation is stirred up by sound - he cannot get enough of music. At the performance of Leos Janáčeks string quartet, Kreutzersonate, his infatuation and jealousy come to a head, with tragic results.

Saturday, September 27th, 6:00 PM

Anna Achmatova Museum
34 Fontanka, St.Petersburg
tel. (812) 2721811
in Russian language; no entrance fee
with musical interlude

Literature and Music: Louis Andriessen, Alexander Kharkovsky, Margriet de Moor, Elmer Schönberger

Louis Andriessen

Louis Andriessen

In the seventies, Dutch music critic and composer Elmer Schönberger (1950) and world famous Dutch composer Louis Andriessen (1939), wrote their renowned book on Igor Stravinsky. Recently, their book, Het apollinisch uurwerk (Pro Arte, 2003), was translated into Russian. Just as Stravinsky’s life as an expatriate sent him on a journey of the world, his life as a composer sent him on a journey through musical history. Both journeys, not without their side-paths and dead-end streets, were labrynthian, at least in the eyes of an observer. On this particular evening, the St. Petersburg music journalist Alexander Kharkovsky will discuss Schönberger and Andriessen’s book with them.
Margriet de Moor, a celebrated writer but also a trained singer, constantly explores the boundaries between the sister art forms of literature and music. This she does most emphatically in her last novel, Kreutzersonate, of which she will read a short passage. Afterwards, Kharkovsky will lead a discussion with Andriessen , Schönberger, and de Moor on literature and music and the commmonalities of the two disciplines.
The evening’s program will of course also include live music. Louis Andriessen en Elmer Schönberger will play a piano duet. The string quartet ‘Kreutzersonate’ by Leos Janáček will also be performed.

About the Foundation

The Foundation for the Production and Translation of Dutch Literature, which organized ‘Literature of the North Sea,’ grants subsidies to foreign publishers for the translation of Dutch literature. The Foundation also organizes events for foreign readers, so that they may become better acquainted with translated Dutch writers. For more information on the foundation, visit the site: (English version).

The Foundation for the Production and Translation of Dutch Literature would like to thank the following persons and organizations for helping make Literature of the North Sea possible:

Days of Dutch Culture