Jeroen Brouwers passed away at the age of 82
Dutch novelist and essayist Jeroen Brouwers passed away at the age of 82. Brouwers left an enormous oeuvre to Dutch literature, not only with novels such as "Bezonken rood", "De zondvloed" and "Geheime kamers", but also with sharp polemics and wrangling over literary prizes. His work was strongly influenced by his stay in a Japanese prison camp Tjideng in Indonesia where he ended up with his mother, grandmother and sister during the Japanese invasion in 1942.
Brouwers has always had a close relationship with Flanders and Flemish literature. "There is no Dutchman who has meddled so extensively with Flemish literature and the Flemish language as I have", he said. "I am also loved more by Flemings than by Dutchmen. The nature of my character leans more towards them." It is also no coincidence that many Flemish authors see Brouwers as an example. Author Walter Van den Broeck said the following about Brouwers' stylistic mastery: "God first created Brouwers, then Dutch and finally the poor little language we mere mortals have to manage with every day. Or Tom Lanoye: "Brouwers is not even a monument, but an irreparable, magnificent scar in the work and style of many, and I am standing in the front row with them.
Over the years, Brouwers has won just about every possible literary prize and award, from the Multatuli Prize over the Golden Owl and the AKO Literature Prize to the Libris Literature Prize. In 2007, Brouwers caused quite a stir by refusing the prestigious Prijs der Nederlandse Letteren. The author refused the prize because he considered the accompanying sum of money (16,000 euros) "a handout" and not in keeping with the prestige of the prize. The following year the organisation increased the prize money to 40,000 euros. Brouwers then promptly indicated that he still wished to accept his prize, but the Taalunie would not hear of it. Last year, Brouwers won the Libris Literature Prize for the first time in his career with his last book "Cliënt E. Busken".
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