Author Astrid H. Roemer receives 2016 P.C. Hooft Prize


A post by Peter Jordens.

As previously reported, Astrid H. Roemer has won the 2016 P.C. Hooft Prize which is considered the most important literary award in the Netherlands and Belgium. Christina Matola reports on that Roemer recently received the Prize at a ceremony in the Literary Museum in The Hague. The prestigious award includes a sum of € 60,000.

“Today the most important Dutch writer of the postcolonial era is being honored. And today it is the first time that a black woman receives the P.C. Hooft Prize. These are two facts of great significance for our literature and for the Netherlands,” said Elsbeth Etty in her commendation.

According to the Jury of the P.C. Hooft Prize, Roemer is unique in Dutch literature. From her work emanates a voice that is completely her own. “She recounts experiences of becoming uprooted and does so in prose that departs from literary conventions. She dares to take risks in the composition of novels, in her language use, and in the subjects that she chooses,” said the Jury. “Writers who take a lot of risks, who are original and who demonstrate great literary effort in their work are vital for the literary arts. They write books that deserve attention in a time of oppressive commercialism and media popularization. Astrid H. Roemer is in that category. With this nomination for the 2016 P.C. Hooft Prize, the Jury wants to show its appreciation for the voice of a Surinamese-Dutch writer whose work opens the gates of Dutch literature in an intriguing and challenging way.”

The full, original article (in Dutch) is available at

In an interview prior to the ceremony with Stuart Kensenhuis of De Posthoorn, Roemer said: “I’m still not over the shock of the P.C. Hooft Prize. I am joyous and feel honored as well as grateful. Partly because of this Prize I will die peacefully. The response has been overwhelming. Everywhere people are overcome by the news; even people who do not know me not at all relish the honor along with me. The response from my relatives has been particularly heartwarming. Remarkably, people who know me closely sometimes take up congratulations as if they themselves contributed something to this success.” Roemer continued: “In my literary texts I react to existence. The human world needs artists and writers, even though we may not know what to make of their work. Authors from Suriname and the Caribbean face difficulties and I therefore dedicate my award to Bea Vianen, Edgar Cairo, Anil Ramdas and Frank Martinus Arion.”

For the complete interview (in Dutch), go to

Picture credited to Mylene Siegers.


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