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Journalist-in-Residence (1 September 2009 - 31 January 2010)
During my stay as Journalist-in-Residence at NIAS, I completed most of the preparatory work for my biographical essay on the Dutch author Aya Zikken, who spent a large part of her childhood in the former Dutch East Indies. In my book I will mainly focus on the decisive influence of her childhood on her later life and work. A large part of my time at NIAS was consumed by reading, organising and categorising Zikken’s private correspondence, diaries and travel diaries, radio and newspaper interviews; and selecting potentially useful quotes from recordings of my own series of interviews with her and those she gave on radio and television.
As a writer who is accustomed to perform his daily work in seclusion, the ambiance of NIAS – with its professional and friendly staff, the omnipresence of scientists from many different disciplines and the wide range of interesting and enjoyable side activities – proved to be an inspiring and instructive change of working atmosphere. At the same time, for a hermit, some of these appealing aspects of the Institute also represent a certain, not always profitable diversion.
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