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Bernlef - foto Serge Ligtenberg
Bernlef - foto Serge Ligtenberg

(1937-2012) is the penname of Hendrik Jan Marsman. Since his debut in 1960 he has published novels, volumes of poetry, novellas and essays on an almost annual basis. In the obituary he recently wrote for In Memoriam for the Flemish House De Buren (The Neighbours) he admits he has a lot of respect for other writers, writing profound, bulky novels. "I myself am a composer of chamber music. Four part pieces is the best I can do", said Bernlef. In his latest novel De een zijn dood (One man's death) he explores a new genre: the thriller. In 2008 he wrote the book week's gift De Pianoman, a story resembling Hersenschimmen, (Out of Mind) his breakthrough of 1984. Both novels were written in a characteristic style: without 'fuss and bother and hoo-ha', but in a 'clear and lucid style'. Out of Mind was adapted for the screen and the stage. In 1984 Bernlef was recipient of the Constantijn Huygens Award for his entrire oeuvre and in 1987 won the AKO Literature Prize for Publiek geheim (Public Secret). As a translator Bernlef introduced numerous American and Swedish poets in the Netherlands, among others the Swedish poet and Nobel Prize winner 2011 Tomas Tranströmer, whose complete works he translated. He died in October 2012.

(WU 2012 GR)

Archive available for: Bernlef

  • Winternachten 2012 – Winternacht 2

    Dream Birds

    Bernlef is one of Holland's finest poets; Ramsey Nasr has made a name for himself as - among many other things - Poet Laureate, and Like Marsman is an important up-and-coming talent. Their poetry readings are introduced by the lyrics of Trio Droomvogels. A festive conclusion of a Winternight full of literature and poetry. In Dutch.

  • Over Tranströmer

    Bernlef and Menkveld on Tranströmer

    With: Bernlef, Erik Menkveld

    Bernlef en Erik Menkveld experts and lovers of the work of the most recent Nobel Prize winner for Literature: Tomas Tranströmer.

  • Winternachten 2009 – Winternachten zaterdagavond

    The Real Thing 3: Art

    Theme of the third part of the triptych hosted by Michaël Zeeman was art: 'If a feature film is the mise en scene of emotions, then the documentary is the mise en scene of reality,' Heddy Honigmann said about her documentaries. Honigmann talked to author Bernlef about the question what 'genuine' or 'authentic' means in their work. It turned out to be an open conversation on the quest for the right tone and the correct form.