AKO Literature Prize For Joke Van Leeuwen

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This years’ most prestigious literature prize, for Dutch literature, goes to Joke van Leeuwen. She won the prize for her book ‘Feest van het begin’. The prize was handed over in museum ‘Beelden aan Zee’ in Scheveningen.

Van Leeuwen had six competitors: Martin Bossenbroek (De Boerenoorlog), Jan Brokken (De vergelding), Wouter Godijn (Hoe ik een beroemde Nederlander werd), Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer (La Superba) and Allard Schröder (De dode arm).

The chairman of the jury was Patrick Janssens, MP in Flanders. The reason why the jury chose ‘Feest van het begin’, was that the book poses universal questions about beauty and truth and shows that life must be taken as a new start including all bad things.

The book is based on the memoirs of Charles-Henry Sanson. He was an executioner who lived in Paris from 1739 till 1806. He killed thousands of people. Van Leeuwen gives in her book an impression about the life in France at the end of the 18th century.

The award ceremony was broadcasted life by Nieuwsuur. Joke van Leeuwen got prize money of 50,000 euro plus a statue made by Eugène Peters.