The Netherlands’ most prestigious literary prize, the PC Hooftprijs, has been awarded this year to Arnon Grunberg.
Grunberg, 50, has been given the award for his prose writings, which, the jury said, are ‘unparalleled in ambition, productivity and intellectual force.’
The author, who predicted he would win the prize in a letter in 1993, told the Volkskrant that ‘it is time, although that might sound arrogant.’
‘Marga Minco was given the PC Hooftprijs before me … and I am glad that, unlike her, I did not have to wait until I was 100,’ he told the paper.
Grunberg’s first novel, Blue Mondays, was published when he was 23 and became a bestseller in Europe.
Since then he has gone on to publish a string of novels as well as plays and essays and his work has won many prizes. His most recent novel, Bezette gebieden (‘Occupied territories’), was published in January 2020.
He writes book reviews, columns and essays for Dutch newspapers and has contributed widely to international newspapers and magazines. Grunberg’s work has been translated into 29 languages.
In 2020, Grunberg gave the May 4 Commemoration Day lecture, in which he drew parallels between the treatment of the Jews in the 1930s and the hostility faced by minority groups today.
‘When they talk about Moroccans, they talk about me,’ Grunberg, who is Jewish, said.
The statement prompted outraged responses on social media, leading Grunberg to clarify that he was not making a direct comparison between Jews and Moroccans, but speaking out against prejudice in general.
‘When a group in society is marked as a scapegoat, I feel we have a duty to show solidarity with that group,’ he told NPO Radio 1.
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.Make a donation