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Welcome to the first in Litro‘s World Series of issues in translation: the lekker Dutch issue. Once again, we step into the breach to bring you a great selection of contemporary stories and poetry from the Netherlands.
Much has been made recently of the struggles some of the great Dutch writers have had in reaching a wider audience because of the general lack of translated Dutch literature during the post-war era. It’s only recently that much modern Dutch fiction has been available in English; we ourselves published a Dutch issue in 2010, bringing to Londoners stories from the likes of Cees Nooteboom, perhaps the greatest living Dutch writer. We also translated for you the opening of Louis Couperus’s great novel Eline Vere, and featured some of the Netherlands’ current crop of great contemporary writers, including Tessa de Loo, Otto de Kat and Abdelkader Benali.
In our second Dutch issue we continue where we left off, bringing a flash of orange into a dull English February. We have poetry from Holland’s National Poet and Poet Laureate Ramsey Nasr, as well as a piece of biblical flash fiction from up and coming poet Nyk de Vries, translated by David Colmer, whose translation of Gerbrand Bakker’s The Twin won him the 2010 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
Celebrated Nigerian-Flemish writer Chika Unigwe brings us a beautiful and poignant tale from Nigeria of sex, religion, gender and relationships. Handpicked writers can be found on our online website, where we will also feature the winner of our special Dutch-themed short story competition, who has bagged the top prize of a vintage Dutchie bicycle. (Read Rebecca Cordingly’s winning story, The Bike Ride.)
This special Dutch issue and the upcoming Olympics have also inspired us to host a free Dutch sports and literature festival, Double Dutch, all day on February 28 at The Serpentine Bar and Kitchen in Hyde Park. So don’t fear the winter greys, we have plenty of colour to send your way! We hope you enjoy this issue, and that you’ll come and say hello at our festival, and most of all, that you’ll continue to read and love Litro.