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25 Oct. 2018 -
11:00 - 12:30
Korte Spinhuissteeg
Conference Room

On the Waves: The Interwar Period in Six Voices


Writer-in-residence Hélène Gelèns will discuss a portrait of a group of colourful figures, who made their mark on the interwar period.

About the Seminar

Writing a novel for Gelèns is as much about the characters and the course of events as it is about rhythm, melody, tone and composition. While writing poetry, Gelèns’ poems tend to build from the rhythm, sound and structure of one or two lines and some vague idea of what the evolving poem will be about (which can change during the writing process).

At NIAS Gelèns is writing a novel, On the Waves, that aims to be a group-portrait of the interwar period. Taking the form of a six-way conversation, the story will unfold in nine movements. The six characters, with very different backgrounds and from different countries, are engaged in an ongoing discussion concerning the times in which they live and the events in their lives, tackling topics ranging from war, revolution and peace; to ideals and morality; to being at home and being displaced, all the way to love and respect. Their utterances are based on existing texts: books, lectures, speeches, letters etc.

Though much seems to be restrained in the writing progress (for example Gelèns wishes to be faithful to the historical characters), up till now this book is as much evolving in the writing process as her poems. In the research for the book she thought along with the historical characters. The act of writing and composing puts the thoughts and actions of the characters under the microscope.

About NIAS Seminars

NIAS Seminars are aimed to stimulate scientific cross-pollination within the NIAS academic community, but seminars are open to others who are interested. Please  if you wish to attend.