Portfolio of recent writing
and translation projects.

the tree / de boom

Translation, English-Dutch, 2014

Dutch translations of two essays by English author John Fowles: 'The Tree' (1979) and 'The Nature of Nature' (1995).

In the long autobiographical essay 'The Tree' Fowles explored his relationship with nature, and particularly wilderness, woods and trees. Contrasted with what he considered modern man's overly 'scientific' thinking he described the green wilderness as "an experience whose deepest value lies in the fact that it cannot be directly described by any art ... including that of words."

In the shorter essay 'The Nature of Nature' he revisited the paradox of putting words to what is intrinsically hostile to analysis, "the acutely rich sensation of beingness."

Along the way, both pieces offer a fascinating insight in Fowles' life and work. Patiently searching, winding and alive with wit and wisdom, they are like the woods he describes, places to wander in without a map.

Read more in these introductions to 'The Tree' and 'The Nature of Nature'.

Rights owned by the John Fowles Estate, represented by Aitken Alexander Associates.

the cave / de grot

Translation, English-Dutch, 2014

A Dutch translation of the English play 'The Cave' (1950s) by Mervyn Peake.

Peake is best known for his 'Gormenghast' series of gothic fantasy novels, but he was also a prolific poet, artist and illustrator. His plays are less known: of the ten he wrote only one was performed during his lifetime.

In 'The Cave', subtitled 'Anima Mundi', he presents a dark vision of mankind riddled with superstition and fear. Peake biographer G. Peter Winnington called it Peake's "most philosophical work", touching on themes of religion, art and morality.

The play's three acts span thousands of years of history, from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages and culminating in the 1950s. In each act, a family is confronted with a stranger, a girl whose free mind meets with hostility. Her presence ultimately leads to violence - but also glimpses of otherworldly beauty.

'The Cave' had its world premiere in London, 2010, in a production by Blue Elephant Theatre.

Read more about 'The Cave'.

The original text and translation are unpublished. Rights owned by the Mervyn Peake Estate, represented by Peters Fraser & Dunlop.

vers 2

Poetry, Dutch, 2013

A volume of poetry - in Dutch - titled 'vers 2' ('verse 2') made up of 40 poems and originally published in book and screen form.

The book is a bundle of loose cards with a cover and red elastic band that can be read linearly or treated as a collection of postcards to be sent or handed out.

The website - no longer online - contained the complete volume, mirroring the paper version by laying out the contents on your screen.

The book can still be ordered, as well as found at Boekie Woekie (Amsterdam) and Printroom (Rotterdam). You can also re-order individual poems.


Translation, German-Dutch, 2013

A Dutch translation of the German play 'Speer' (1998) by Esther Vilar.

'Speer' uses a clever mix of history and fiction to portray "dictator of the Nazi industry" Albert Speer as a modern manager without a conscience.

Set in 1980 in East Berlin, the play revolves around a meeting between the pragmatic technocrat Albert Speer and an idealistic communist. What follows is a suspenseful verbal duel that touches on universal themes of power, morality and humanity.

The play premiered in Berlin and London, in both productions with Speer portrayed by Klaus Maria Brandauer, but has never been staged in the Netherlands.

Read more in an introduction to 'Speer'.

The translation is unpublished. Rights owned by the author, represented by Per H. Lauke Verlag.

blokken / blocks

Translation, Dutch-English, 2007

An English translation of the short Dutch novel 'Blokken' (1931) by Ferdinand Bordewijk, in collaboration with translator Peter Shenk.

Bordewijk is best remembered for his novel 'Character', which was adapted into an Oscar-winning film. 'Blocks', a weird little gem in his oeuvre, is a modernist dystopia from the same era as Huxley's 'Brave New World' and Zamyatin's 'We'.

But 'Blocks' is most of all an exercise in style. Terse, angular language, filled with complex nightmarish imagery, this is some of the strangest Dutch we could find.

Read more in an introduction to 'Blocks'.

The translation is unpublished. Rights owned by the heirs F. Bordewijk, represented by Nijgh & Van Ditmar.