Boekenweek: A Celebration of Books

What’s Boekenweek?

Have you ever heard of Boekenweek? Even if you don’t understand Dutch, I’m sure you can guess what it translates to—Book Week. Doesn’t that sound awesome? Even better, Boekenweek lasts 10 days. Those crazy Dutch and Belgians might struggle with their numbers (Kidding! More days for book festivities are better!), but book celebrations are worth it.

For those of you who have never heard of Boekenweek, shame on you! Shame on me too; this book fest is new to me as well. It is far from a fledgling event though. Boekenweek started as an annual literary celebration in March 1932. While it hailed in the Netherlands to toast Dutch authors, today it incorporates Flemish writers as well. There are book signings, debates, literary festivals, and more, all in the name of Dutch literature.

You don’t live in Belgium or the Netherlands though Katherine…

Jaap Robben; Dutch Author of You Have Me to Love – currently being adapted into an English language film

Well, yes. That is true. But I do read books from all over the world. And I encourage people to send me books to review all the time. Plus, I just so happen to have a few featured titles on the way for me to review this year; one by Dutch author Jaap Robben and another by Belgian writer Annelies Verbeke. Both titles incorporate this year’s theme—the mother the woman.

I didn’t know you spoke or read Dutch?

You’ve got me there. I did pick up some Afrikaans while I was in South Africa several years ago, which is similar to Dutch, but that leaves me far from fluent. While I can trace my lineage back to Lienen in 1721—close to the Netherlands and an area whose borders frequently fluctuated in the 16th and 17th centuries—that doesn’t help either. No, the books I get to read are translations, but no less worthy in their adaptations.

Boekenweek 2019

So mark your calendars for the week of March 23 – 31, 2019. World renowned publisher, World Editions has two exciting books heading my way. Several other books will be part of blog tours across North America. Some of those authors are even touring the US, for those lucky enough to live close by to meet them in person. I will of course write a blog post or two, plus might even feature a Q&A with an author, if I get a chance. Feel free to send me questions, if you have any!

Annelies Verbeke – Belgian author of Thirty Days

In the interim, enjoy the books you have on your nightstand, but take your tbr pile to the next level. Stretch your imagination and try a book outside your usual genre or geographical area. Select an author you’ve never heard of. Be open to suggestions from people far and wide. Books are gifts from creative minds and need to be embraced in all their forms. I am ever grateful for their presence and the expansion they bring to my life.

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