After he moved to Sint-Kornelis-Horebeke, a tiny hamlet in the Flemish Ardennes, in 1997, critics have often described him as a hermit. “Me being a recluse has become the big cliché,” he says. “But I have never been more sociable than since I moved there.”
Since his childhood, Michaël R Roskam has been a fan of comics and graphic novels. He thought he would grow up to draw comics himself, but instead he became a painter. Take a good look at his Oscar-nominated film Bullhead, and you will see both skills. Roskam doesn’t, like so many other filmmakers, tell a story only through the narrative and dialogue. He uses the image to convey emotions, to set a mood, to relate an entire lifetime of rage in one long shot.
The Flemish literary translation industry is in crisis. Already in 2007 Karel Verhoeven, now co-editor of De Standaard, described the situation as “stifling” and “humiliating”. That’s despite half of all books in any bookshop in Flanders being translations. Take away the cookbooks, and the proportion is higher still.
Nobody could have guessed just how bad it was until the Flemish Authors Association (VAV), inspired by a survey on earnings carried out by the European Council of Literary Translators Associations (CEATL), decided to poll its own members.
“I grew up watching Hollywood movies, so it was a big part of my childhood,” says Van Loy (pictured). “I’ve always wanted to create a story about Hollywood – its history and the period.” The result is a 640-page epic spanning six decades of film history and covering a wide array of topics such as the studio system, civil rights, McCarthyism, the Wall Street Crash and even polio, which are intertwined with the lives of dozens of larger-than-life characters.
Selah Sue (pictured), who Milow had a hand in discovering, took best album, best-selling artist and best female solo artist, which she dedicated to her grandmother.
Rock band dEUS was nominated six times and picked up two awards, for best rock/alternative act and best musician for the band’s guitarist Mauro Pawlowski. Hit of the year (voted by the public) and video of the year went to the Bruges-born Australian Gotye for “Somebody That I Used to Know”.
In the autumn of 2008, she called it a day. A year ago, Hooverphonic, the brainchild of lyricist Alex Callier, released its first post-Geike album The Night Before with their new singer Noémie Wolfs.
Since Geike’s decision to leave, she has kept a low profile, only recording a few benefit singles and collaborating with Dutch- Flemish band Dorléac.
But now the city of Ghent, where Maeterlinck was born in 1862, is making an impressive effort to create a more coherent picture of their famous son as they celebrate the 100th anniversary of the year he won the Nobel Prize for Literature – the only Belgian to ever do so to this day.
The museum, housed in a palatial building overlooking Tervuren park, was built by King Leopold II to host a 1897 exposition of African curia, showcasing the worthiness of his forays into the “dark continent” to his people. That’s if they weren’t already convinced by the wealth amassed through the country’s exploitation of Congo’s Katanga mines, not to mention its rich rubber resources.
Palazzo Rubens: The Master as Architect could not take place in a more apt setting. Not only did the museum used to be Rubens’ family home, it was actually designed by the artist himself. “A more eloquent testimony of his ideas on architecture is scarcely imaginable,” says Ben van Beneden, the curator at Rubens House.
Some of the pieces – valuable architecture books from Rubens’ library and works by Michelangelo, Van Dyck and Rubens himself – are from the museum’s own collection, others are on loan from the Hermitage, the Louvre or the British Museum.
When accordionist Leo Kiebooms bought the Olympia in 1949, he kept its name and some of its features – hence the lit-up discus-thrower at the entrance, a reminder of the Antwerp 1920s Olympic Games. But he spared no costs to decorate the rest of the joint with fancy blue lights and had a little stage built, one that snugly fit his jazz combo. Soon the Olympia came to be known as Café Kiebooms, and the legend lives on today.