The Kinderboekenweek in the Netherlands will take place again from 2-13 October this year and the theme this year is about travelling. It actually is not about travelling to places but about all forms of transport.
The Anglia Step To books First Step, Junior and Primary all have chapters about transport. The Dutch Children’s book highlighted during this period is Andre, Astronautje, written by austronaut Andre Kuipers and Natascha Stenvert. How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers (translated in Dutch as Mijn eigen Ster) is a really good alternative to use in your English class for the youngest ones.
In Roosendaal we will be reading How to Catch a Star in English and Dutch and we are also adding a few more English touches to the local library programme.
Thrillers are by far the most popular book genre among the Dutch population. Thrillers are also most read in the (western) world as a genre, especially during the summer holidays.
Every year in the month of June the Golden Noose prize is awarded to the best Dutch thriller and book stores around the country do their utmost best to create exciting displays and windows to entice people to stock up for the summer. This year Thomas Olde Heuvelt wrote the gift that all buyers get when spending over €12,50 in June on books. He is famous for Hex which was translated in several languages and won the prestigious Hugo Award in the US.
Let us know who is your favorite thriller author and which book we should read this summer! The most convincing entry will win a €15,00 book voucher!
You have translated so many books from Dutch to English in the past few years. Which one makes you most proud?
That would be De brief voor de koning by Tonke Dragt. It was originally published in Dutch in 1962, and it really should have been translated into English back then, as it’s such a great story and such an obvious addition to the fantastic tales of adventure that we have in English. The book had to wait more than fifty years, until 2004, to be published in English by Pushkin Press as The Letter for the King, and I’m so glad that I could be part of its move into English. It’s been a success with readers, and Netflix are now making a series of the book – and it’s about time too!
Which one is a personal favourite?
Ooh, that’s a tricky one. I love all of my book babies! ;) Seriously, I couldn’t say. Perhaps whichever one I’m working on at the moment, as that’s the one I feel closest to. I do love books with great illustrations, and I really enjoy working on picture books. They’re often quite a challenge, as you don’t have much space to work with. There can be a lot going on, but only a couple of hundred words to capture everything in, and they’ve got to match the pictures too. Fun! I love it when there’s a great team working on a book too. Harmen van Straaten’s picture book Hey, Who’s in the Loo? was a good example – both the author and the publisher, David Rose from Red Robin Books, were an absolute pleasure to work with. I think we all have the same sense of humour.
What book(s) are you currently working on?
I’m just reading the proofs for my translation of Annet Schaap’s Lampje (to be published as Lampie and the Children of the Sea by Pushkin Press) and I’m working on a new Tonke Dragt book, also for Pushkin: The Goldsmith and the Master Thief.
How long does it take on average from first request to translate to seeing your translated work being sold to the public?
It can take anything from a few months to a couple of years, but I’ve never really stopped to think about it too much. I focus on my own deadlines. It can depend on a lot of factors, not just the length of the book, but also how it fits into the publisher’s schedule and the time of year. Some books are obvious summer holiday books, while others are nice for snuggling down with in the winter.
Do you have any say in what the cover of the book will look like?
No, not at all. That’s the publisher’s job, but they do sometimes send the cover in advance, and I think they’d pay attention if the author or translator pointed out a continuity problem – for instance, if the character on the cover didn’t look much like the character in the book. It’s always fun to see what the actual book is going to look like, rather than just words on a computer screen.
Which Dutch book should still be translated in your opinion?
Ah, there are plenty of them, but I like to play my cards close to my chest. There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing one of your favourite books translated by someone else. Heh heh!
My all-time favourite classic Christmas books for the little ones: The Christmas Book by Dick Bruna, the author of Miffy (Nijntje in Dutch) and How the Grinch Stole Christmas! By Dr. Suess. There are animated (film) versions of both books available as well. Reading a book together is still the best way to get Children interested in reading and enriching their vocabulary in a fun way.
I would love to hear how you celebrate Christmas in your country! Is there a special Christmas family recipe that you and your loved ones enjoy together every year? Are you exchanging gifts, do you play games? What is your favourite Christmas book to read by yourself or together? Email me your stories and tips at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Karin van Eck, English Academy, Roosendaal:
“Some of you might already have picked up a copy or read the 2018 Booker Prize winning novel Milkman. For those still looking for the next devouring good book or who want a suggestion for their Sinterklaas or Christmas wish list, look no further! Milkman is not an easy read, might make you even feel a bit uncomfortable at times, but this novel set in the early 1970’s in an unnamed Irish city (Belfast) is a literary achievement. It is raw and funny and touching and Anna Burns is a novelist of incredible talent.”
Chair of judges Kwame Anthony Appiah comments:
‘The language of Anna Burns’ Milkman is simply marvellous; beginning with the distinctive and consistently realised voice of the funny, resilient, astute, plain-spoken, first-person protagonist. From the opening page her words pull us into the daily violence of her world — threats of murder, people killed by state hit squads — while responding to the everyday realities of her life as a young woman, negotiating a way between the demands of family, friends and lovers in an unsettled time. The novel delineates brilliantly the power of gossip and social pressure in a tight-knit community, and shows how both rumour and political loyalties can be put in the service of a relentless campaign of individual sexual harassment. Burns draws on the experience of Northern Ireland during the Troubles to portray a world that allows individuals to abuse the power granted by a community to those who resist the state on their behalf. Yet this is never a novel about just one place or time. The local is in service to an exploration of the universal experience of societies in crisis.’
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