We are delighted to welcome Thomas Heerma van Voss as our new virtual writer in residence at the National Centre for Writing. This month-long residency, in partnership with New Dutch Writing and the Dutch Foundation for Literature, celebrates the publication of the Verzet chapbooks showcasing new Dutch voices, out now from Strangers Press.
Thomas took part in the Verzet launch event, which you can watch here.
Thomas says of the residency opportunity:
‘As a child, I took the STENA ferry every winter and summer with my best friend and his family to their country house in Harwich, near the harbour. From there, we took the train to Colchester, Ipswich, and once also to Norwich, where the father – a literary editor – gave me a tour of some addresses where W.G. Sebald used to live and work. Sebald remains an inspiration for me, especially when I write nonfiction. When I was 18, I lived in London for a year – England and British culture have always appealed to me – and during that time I also went to Norwich and strolled through the city. Shortly after, I was inspired to start writing what would become my first novel. In my new book, I’m planning to tell a story that partly takes place in the England I remember from my youth.’
Thomas Heerma van Voss has published four works of fiction, including the novel Stern in 2013, and the short story collection The Third Person in 2014. His chapbook, Thank You For Being With Us, comprises two short stories feature compelling, well-wrought characters who draw the reader entertainingly into their simultaneously hilarious and heart-breaking lives. The stories are translated by Moshe Gilula.
‘My two Verzet stories will be my first publications in English. Because of my interest in the process of translation – also in my function as editor of a Dutch literary magazine, De Revisor, which publishes translations in every issue – I’d like to discuss the art of translation and how it feels to see my own words come to life in another language. I’ve already started an email correspondence with my English translator, Moshe Gilula, about the process of translating.’
During the month-long residency with NCW, Thomas will be running a workshop with Lit from the Inside, our youth group exploring the literary arts scene in Norwich and elsewhere; sharing his top five writing tips; recording a podcast as part of the NCW Writing Life series of podcasts; and writing a walk for Walking Norwich, which explores the real and imagined UNESCO city of literature.
Thomas will also be collaborating with the Book Hive in Norwich to offer a shortlist of three books in translation from the Netherlands that he’d like to recommend to English-language readers.
Thomas is looking forward to staying in Norwich once again ‘during this strange COVID-19 period, this time via a screen, to talk about what I love most – stories, fiction, literature. I am positive that this digital stay will inspire me in all manner of ways.’