Oud papier


How to be as immodest as possible

Erwin Mortier (1965) spent his childhood in the village of Nevele, in the vicinity of his native city of Ghent. In 1999 his debut novel Marcel was awarded five literary prizes, among them the debut prizes of both the Netherlands and Flanders. The novel also received acclaim throughout Europe and was published in translation by major publishing houses like Harvill, Fayard and Suhrkamp.

Thanking the Jury of the Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger, for 'Psaumes Balbutiés' (A stammered book of Songs),

to be published in English by Pushkin Press.

"Perhaps her illness, the silence of Alzheimer’s disease, has made me even more aware of what is to me the real poetry of language: it is not in the first place a matter of form, or rhyme, or music. It is foremost being able to hear and listen to the universe of meanings behind every word (and maybe every silence too)."

Dear Members of the Jury,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Cher Monsieur Hollande (how very nice of you to drop by),


various sources

"This is a Bildungsroman which is related to much European literature from Proust and Mann onwards. It is very sparsely populated with things and incidents, but what there are are peculiarly unforgettable, as though the memories of Anton's body have been acquired by the reader."
A.S. Byatt on My Fellow Skin, in The Guardian


Something to listen to

What is past is just beginning, a Radio Book

The series Radio Books is an initiative of the Flemish-Dutch Huis de Buren in Brussels, in association with the Flemish radio broadcaster Klara and Radio Netherlands Worldwide. Mortier presented his contribution for Radio Books in Antwerp on World Book Day in April 2009. It’s a contemplative and very personal ode to books and those who read them.