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Fintro Literature Prize 2017 for 'WILL'

WILL, the most recent novel by Flemish author Jeroen Olyslaegers, has been chosen as the winner of the Fintro Literature Prize (formerly known as the Gouden Uil): the award for the best literary work written in Dutch in the past year.

Two Juries

The Professional Jury chose 'WILL' out of a list of 400 books written in Dutch. With this main prize, the author receives 25,000 euros and a sculpture by Flemish artist Nick Ervinck. Olyslaegers managed to convince not only the Professional Jury but also the Readers’ Jury. The Prize of the Readers’ Jury consists of 2,500 euros and a special fountain pen.

'A book full of ambition, moral complexity and lucid language'

The Professional Jury of the Fintro Literature Prize: "The jury chose a book that cannot be seen separately from a current social context. A book that aims to be inevitable within that context, and succeeds in being exactly that. A book full of ambition, moral complexity and lucid language. In the end, the jury chose the literary and political primal scream that resounds from the novel 'WILL'."

‘WILL’ tells the story of Wilfried Wils, who is an auxiliary policeman in Antwerp at the start of the Second World War. The city is in the grip of violence and distrust. In his struggle for survival, Wilfried does some things that might be called questionable. Many years later he tells his story to one of his descendants. ‘WILL’ is a bold, ambitious and multifaceted novel in which no one is spared. Olyslaegers challenges the widely accepted boundaries between good and evil and ingeniously makes the book resonate with our own time, with its heated political climate and its polarisation manifesting in religion, nationalism and populism.

Work grant

A few weeks ago, ‘WILL’ also won the Confituur Bookstores’ Prize: the award for the best book written in Dutch in the past year, as chosen by a number of independent Flemish bookstores and their customers. The book was shortlisted for the Libris Literature Prize 2017 as well. The rights for the English, French, German en Czech translations have been sold. For his work on ‘WILL’, the author received a work grant from Vlaams Fonds voor de Letteren, the parent organisation of Flanders Literature.

May 15th, 2017