Woutertje Pieterse Prize goes to Kathleen Vereecken and Charlotte Peys
Author Kathleen Vereecken and illustrator Charlotte Peys have won the Woutertje Pieterse Prize, the biggest prize for children’s and young adult literature in the Low Countries, for Everything Will Be Fine, Forever. The prize money is 15,000 euro.
'Everything Will Be Fine, Forever' is set during World War I. Protagonist Alice is growing up amongst falling bombs, soldiers and refugees. In the end, she herself is forced to flee. The title is taken from something her mother says, a little white lie. The jury described it as "a poignant book that takes an unsentimental, child’s look at the fringes of war, where somehow a love of life prevails". Charlotte Peys’ delicate watercolours symbolise and illustrate a world from which all colour first disappears and then reappears.
A poignant book that takes an unsentimental, child’s look at the fringes of war, where somehow a love of life prevails.Jury report
This year the jury opted for atmosphere, for pent-up emotion and a gripping narrative, for a protagonist who, despite all the misery and adversity, keeps looking for what it is that makes life beautiful, and who, like Multatuli’s literary character Woutertje Pieterse, continues to meet the world on its own terms. That world may have become tarnished, yet ‘it still has colour’.