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Peter Verhelst

Verhelst’s language and imagery has been described as poetic, cryptic, sensual and bizarre. All these adjectives apply to his Radiobooks story. A group of archaeologists race against time to recover treasures from an ancient city on the banks of the Euphrates.

“We’re following in the footsteps of the occupier, who surrounded himself with his own stories, told in brightly coloured tiles. With every new village we expose, we can hear the music better, the laughter, the sweet nothings the Romans whispered to each other in the shadowy recesses of the atrium. We dream their dreams…”

Legion by Peter Verhelst was translated by Sherry Marx (also translator of Verhelst’s novel Tongue Cat published in English by Farrar, Straus & Giroux.) The story is read by Jacky Spears.

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Peter Verhelst

Poet, novelist and playwright Peter Verhelst was born in Brugge in 1962. Verhelst made his literary debut in 1987 with ‘Obsidiaan,’ a collection of poetry centred around four paintings by Irish artist Francis Bacon. He continued writing poetry until 1997 when, after a series of poems based on the myth of Icarus, he published his own obituary as a poet in a literary journal. He wrote three novels between 1993 and 1996 including ‘Het spierenalfabet’ (The Muscle Alphabet) about a young man given the task of cataloguing an ancient library’s collection of precious manuscripts. But his “breakthrough” book ‘Tongkat’ (Tongue Cat) was published in 1999. It won major awards including two Golden Owls and the Flemish Culture Prize for Literature, elevated his status from cult author to a wide readership and has been translated into English.

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