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Ultima for Literature goes to Peter Verhelst

On Tuesday 5 February, Peter Verhelst was awarded the Flemish Culture Award for Literature. The so-called Ultima comes with a cash prize of 10,000 euro and a statuette by sculptor Stefaan Dheedene. Verhelst received the award for his most recent novel Before Forgetting (Voor het vergeten), an ode to his deceased mother. The jury praised this ‘exquisite book of mourning, this kaleidoscopic novel that alternates between mournful prose, perplexing poetry and at times hermetic essays on contemporary art – it would appear that only beauty can offer solace in the face of death’.

Before Forgetting - Peter Verhelst
Photo © Chris Ward

Peter Verhelst (1962) is a Flemish poet, novelist and director. He has received numerous prizes for his work, including the Gouden Uil, the Sybren Poletprijs, the Herman de Coninckprijs and the Gouden Griffel. ‘Before Forgetting’ is currently on the longlist of the Libris Literatuurprijs 2019. The winner will be announced in early May. Verhelst’s work has been translated into fourteen languages.

Feb 7th, 2019