Charlotte Van den Broeck in conversation with translator David Colmer
New Dutch Writing is a initiative by the Dutch Foundation for Literature to promote literature from the Netherlands in the English-speaking parts of the world. Occasionally, they work together with Flanders Literature and give an author from Flanders the opportunity to take the stage.
They are now collaborating with the National Centre for Writing for a series of conversations between writers and their translators, called ‘Meet the World’. In this series, author Charlotte Van den Broeck was invited to talk about her collection of poems Chameleon / Nachtroer with her translator David Colmer. The event was hosted by poet, playwright and translator Sasha Dugdale and was streamed live on YouTube due to the ongoing travel restrictions.
David Colmer wrote a report about the evening
“A predictable technical failure at my end saw the start of our discussion postponed while I rushed around the house in search of an alternative device, which I then had to balance on a kitchen ladder against a backstop of a box set of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, kindly provided by my daughter, who had heard the commotion and come to my rescue. By the time I was back online and and trying to get my bearings in the disturbingly wide-angle image, I was even more flustered and confused than usual. Fortunately poet and translator Sasha Dugdale, our interviewer, was her brilliant and kind self and always happy to rephrase her insightful questions and commentary to make it easier for me to latch on. Charlotte Van den Broeck’s answers made it clear that she had lived with her work for years, thought about it deeply and discussed it many times before, yet she was still able to keep it as fresh as if each point contained a new grain of truth that had only just occurred to her. Her ‘readings’ in Dutch and English were especially evocative. Doing them by heart freed her from the page and allowed her to talk directly to the camera, taking full advantage of the expressiveness of her face. Thanks to New Dutch Writing and Flanders Literature for providing us with this opportunity.”
Did you miss it or were you unable to attend? You can rewatch the complete event on YouTube.