Stefan Hertmans wins Flemish Culture Prize for Literature
Flemish author and poet Stefan Hertmans has won Flanders' annual Culture Prize for his book Oorlog en terpentijn, set during the First World War
Author’s book is “a masterpiece”
Hertmans was born and raised in Ghent and set his book, which is based on his grandfather’s experiences in the First World War, in the city. His source material included diaries and sketchbooks left behind by his grandfather, who used his skills as an amateur painter to work through the heavy emotions and angst that the war left him with. Oorlog en terpentijn was widely acclaimed; Humo magazine called it “a masterpiece”.
“Oorlog and terpentijn is a moving book for lovers of great literature,” said Schauvliege. “But Hertmans can really reach any reader in the way he shifts the boundaries of space and time and binds generations together.”
Hertmans, 52, has won multiple prizes over the years for his work, including the five-yearly Prize of the Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature for essays in 2008. He was for many years a lecturer at Ghent’s Fine Arts Academy.