Saskia Troy (Netherlands) Member of Core Adjudication Team of the NS Publieksprijs for the Book of the Year

September 30, 2013
Saskia Troy (Chapter Leader Netherlands) with Geert Mak (photo by Chris van Houts)

It’s been a great honor to have been chosen as a member of the core adjudication team of the NS Publieksprijs for the Book of the Year. The NS Publieksprijs is a literary award for the Book of the Year within the Netherlands (which can also be a translated work). Previous winners include the famous bestselling novels Tonio (A.F.Th. van der Heijden), Komt een Vrouw bij de Dokter (Kluun), Heren van de Thee (H.S. Haasse), Het zijn net Mensen (Beelden uit het Midden-Oosten) (J. Luyendijk), De Overgave (Arthur Japin), In Europa (G.Mak) and Harry Potter en de Vuursteen (J.K.Rowling). As a member of the core adjudication team I will be a protector of and a participant within the adjudication process, as well as an ambassador of the voting for the NS Publieksprijs 2013.

On Monday the 16th of September the jury was installed and the nominated bestsellers were handed out to the members. The nominated bestellers for this year were Gijp (Michel van Egmond), De Vergelding (Jan Brokken), De Voedselzandloper (Kris Verburgh), Reizen zonder John (Geert Mak), Aan niemand vertellen (Simone van der Vlugt) and Dit zijn de namen (Tommie Wieringa). Some of the authors, like Geert Mak and Simone van de Vlugt, have been wellknown amonst a large audience for years and have won the prize before. Their books have been translated into many languages around the world and they are familiar guests of talk shows and literary programs on television. Some others, like Jan Brokken, are new to the scene and may have more trouble in gaining votes.

Jan Brokken was nominated for the book “De Vergelding” (The Revanche), a beautifully written historical novel, which is for Saskia the absolute winner amongst the impressive list of Dutch and international authors. During his lifetime Jan Broken has written twenty-five books on historical topics. Nevertheless, his breakthrough to a large audience has happened only within the past year. The book describes the long-lasting impact of the Second World War on a small village near the city of Rotterdam which had been bombed by the Germans during the war. It’s a piece of true intellectual art which is able to concretize the abstract pain and feelings of the first, second and third generations of victims of the Second World War.

Another amazing masterpiece is the book “Reizen zonder John” (Travels without John) by Geert Mak. "Reizen zonder John" details the modern culture of America by describing his voyage through America from New York (and also Vermont where you can find the headquarters of Children of the Earth) to New Orleans. This book is named after and honors the work of historical novelist John Steinbeck whose 1962 book "Travels with Charley" recounted the turbulent sixties across America. Geert Mak's work is always romantic, subjective,  imaginative and never bores you with so-called objective truths or dull facts. In a way he is “the history teacher you always wish you had."  It’s the kind of book you can read over and over again and still discover new facts, meanings and interpretations.                                                                                                                                        

Saskia believes literature not only heals the wounds of the past but also fills the heart with laughter and joy. She hopes sharing her experience will encourage other people in the world to educate themselves not only intellectually but also spiritually, creatively, emotionally and socially through reading novels and literature and nurturing their inner child. She believes each and every person is a creative artist.


Photos by Chris van Houts

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