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Kamiel Vanhole

Kamiel Vanhole (1954-2008) studied German philology at the Catholic University Leuven. After graduation he worked for an animation studio in Brussels. He has translated stories and essays by authors such as Vladimir Nabokov, Marguerite Duras and John Updike.

Vanhole made his own literary debut in 1990 with a collection of travel stories called Een demon in Brussel (A Demon in Brussels). His first novel De beet van de schilpad (The Bite of the Turtle) was published three years later. It’s a fictionalised account of his grandmother’s life set in Ireland and Flanders.

His next novel Overstekend wild (Animal Crossing) followed the footsteps of a long-deceased great-great-uncle from Flanders to America. The book was honoured with the Flemish-Brabant Prize.

Politics and mythology
Vanhole continued the travel theme in two more novels. O Heer, waar zijn uw zijstraten? (Oh, Lord, Where are your Sidestreets?) touches on political issues when an African stowaway takes a strange train trip through Europe. And his last novel takes on mythological dimensions. Bea is a Dantesque trip through the realm of the dead in Brussels. In 2008 he published his last collection of literary travel stories called De Spoorzoeker (The Tracker).

Vlaams Nederlands Huis de Buren Radio Netherlands The Foundation for the Production and Translation of Dutch Literature

This author's Radio Book:

Kamiel Vanhole
The Garden

In many stories Kamiel Vanhole enjoyed playing with literary conventions, often commenting directly on the writing process. In his story for Radiobooks, a man looks back at his childhood but also expresses why he feels the need to turn his life into a narrative.

“Some people say we tell each other stories to give form and therefore meaning to our lives... Others argue that stories contain our deepest secret, things we can only tell each other in whispers, because they contain things about us which we don't even want to know. Because we're ashamed of them or because they are beyond our understanding. Whatever the case may be, my story is one which I would have preferred not to have told… but I also know I can't go on if I don't get it out of my system."

The Garden by Kamiel Vanhole was translated by Michael O’Loughlin.

Produced by Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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