Leuven author wins ECI Literature Prize


Koen Peeters has won Dutch-language literature’s top prize with De mensengenezer

Forging your own path

Flemish author Koen Peeters has won the ECI Literature Prize for his novel De mensengenezer (The Human Healer). The Leuven writer beat Peter Terrin, Annelies Verbeke and three Dutch authors to receive Dutch-language literature’s most prestigious annual prize.

Peeters (pictured) also won ECI’s readers’ prize for the novel, bringing total winnings to €60,000. The other nominees were awarded €5,000 each.

De mensengenezer is the story of Remi, who abandons 1940s farm life to lock himself away in a monastery and become a monk. A chance encounter turns his mind to faraway places, and he finds himself on a journey through the Congo.

Peeters told Flanders Today earlier this year: “On the one hand, it seems we are all destined to walk in someone else’s footsteps. When we look in the mirror we frequently see the resemblance with our mother or father. But there are also encounters that make us choose our own path, and that’s what fascinates me.”