08.04.2010 - Sarah Hall, Jáchym Topol


Sarah Hall (1974) will be our guest in celebration of the Dutch translation of her latest novel How to Paint a Dead Man. In the beautiful, sensuous prose we know Hall for, it explores the relation between art and death. We are taken back to the early 60’s, to an old and distinguished Italian painter, and a blind girl living in the same village – then, thirty years later, to a middle-aged landscape painter and his daughter, who is organising an exhibition in London. At the same time, she’s reeling from grief at the death of her twin brother and is drawn into a world of darkness and sexual abandon.

How to Paint a Dead Man is Hall’s fourth novel. Rewards for her work include the Commonwealth Writers Prize for her debut Haweswater (2002) and a Man Booker Prize shortlist spot for Electric Michelangelo (2004).

Jáchym Topol (1962) has been at the forefront of the Czech literary scene since publishing his epic novel Sestra in 1994 (published in English as City Sister Silver). He is now considered one of the greatest contemporary European writers. His latest novel has recently been translated into Dutch, as De werkplaats van de duivel [The Workplace of the Devil].

De werkplaats van de duivel is based on a terrifying history of World War II. The novel’s narrator was born and raised in the Czech city Terezin, where the infamous concentration camp was located. In an effort to save the declining city of underground passages, catacombs, barracks and secret places, the memories of the war are commercially exploited. The novel raises an oppressive question: Can what happened then happen to us again?