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On Saturday, 19 June, the University of Amsterdam will be hosting the second edition of the State of European Literature, an annual lecture in which a renowned European writer examines the significance of literature in modern-day Europe. From the UvA Aula, author Nelleke Noordervliet will talk about this year’s theme, ‘The Courage of the Writer’.

How should a writer relate to the burning issues of their time? What happens when political pressure is exerted on the complex diversity of European literature? Noordervliet will tend to these and other questions during her lecture. Writer and philosopher Eva Meijer and two PhD students will briefly comment on Noordervliet’s lecture.

‘We live in the historical reality, but also in the literary reality; this gives us a complex insight in the way we live together’, says Noordervliet. ‘Europe is not, or not only, history and politics. Europe is the stories we tell each other. From Helsinki to Lisbon, from Heraklion to Dublin. Without that connection, Europe is powerless. The slightly chaotic diversity and the immensely rich tradition of Europe’s literature is her strength. We must defend it and cherish it.’

About the speakers

Nelleke Noordervliet is one of the most renowned Dutch authors of the present day. She has written an impressive oeuvre, comprising novels and essays, for which she received, among others, the Constantijn Huygensprijs. Her most recent novel is De val van Thomas G. (Atlas Contact). She is a columnist for Dutch daily newspaper Trouw and radio programme OVT.

Eva Meijer is a Dutch philosopher, visual artist, writer and singer-songwriter. She obtained her PhD at the UvA for her research on the political voice of animals. Her work has been translated into 18 languages and has won several awards.

About the State of European Literature

The State of European Literature is a joint initiative of the University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Humanities and the Amsterdam Centre for European Studies (ACES) in collaboration with The Netherlands Research School for Literary Studies (OSL) and SPUI25.

The State was initiated by Guido Snel, assistant professor of European Studies at the UvA. The lecture intends to make people aware of Europe’s rich and diverse literary tradition. Last year’s State of European Literature lecture was delivered by writer Philipp Blom.

European Literature Night

The theme ‘The Courage of the Writer’ will also feature in the European Literature Night, a literary festival that will kick off right after Noordervliet’s lecture. From De Balie, twelve writers and poets from across Europe will perform and engage in discussion. The European Literature Night is organised by EUNIC Netherlands.

The State of European Literature will take place on 19 June, from 17:00-18:00 in the University of Amsterdam Aula. You can register via SPUI25. The European Literature Night will commence at 20:00 at De Balie. Both events can be attended via a live stream.