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Patricia de Martelaere

Patricia de Martelaere (1957-2009) made her debut at the age of thirteen with the children’s book ‘King of the Wilderness’ (1971), about a lion trying to commit suicide. A number of De Martelaere’s later themes (such as existential doubt, suicide and death) were thus already present on paper, and in reality she was already a writer and philosopher in those early years. She was later to become a professor of philosophy.

The language in her often brilliant philosophical writings and in her intriguing stories and novels is always crystal clear. Paradox was her preferred form. ‘If you can’t speak about something you must write about it,’ she said. Her work exudes disconsolateness and a longing for disconsolateness, as one of her essay collections is entitled. She wasn’t ashamed to dig deep. Patricia de Martelaere died of a brain tumour in 2009, leaving six novels, as many essay collections, a book of poems and a selection of tractates. All of them awe-inspiring.

Photo © Tom Van Hove