25 January 2022

Guest Author 2022: Rashif El Kaoui

We proudly announce our Taalunie Writer in Residence 2022, the Flemish writer, actor, and podcaster Rashif El Kaoui. We will translate extracts from his latest stage play 'De bastaard' into English. And you can all meet him.

Image of author Rashif El Kaoui and announcement of his stay as guest of Dutch Studies in March 2022

Each year Dutch at Sheffield hosts the Dutch Literary Translation Project. Together with students and staff from Dutch Studies at UCL, we tackle an extract from a Dutch, Flemish or Surinamese literary text and translate it into English. We don't go at it alone: we are joined by the  authors themselves and a professional translator. In February and March 2022, we will welcome the writer, actor and rap artist Rashif El Kaoui and translator Jonathan Reeder.

De Bastaard

For the play The Bastard,  the character Rashif El Kaoui is struggling with his Flemish-Moroccan identity. Together with his friend, the Turkish-Dutch photographer Ahmet Polat, El Kaoui travels to a small village in the Atlas Mountains to meet the family of his father. This quest to find his roots forms the basis of the theatre production of which El Kaoui reluctantly admits: 'I feel guilty about making yet more theatre about a problematic father figure'. 

Yet, The Bastard is much more than an identity journey; it is a commentary on being caught in the middle: 'I am caught in the gaze of the other [...] For the Belgians I am too dark, for the Moroccans I am too white'. 

Wij maken een reis au bout de la nuit.  Helter Skelter tegemoet.  The wormwood star staat hoog aan de heldere hemel. Wij zijn mixed-up, but don’t get it twisted.

Rashif EL Kaoui

From: De bastaard

In addition to working with our students, Rashif El Kaoui will talk about and read from this work on Wednesday 23 March. Time and place tbc. 

Translation, and in particular creative and literary translation, forms an important part of our Dutch programme. We would like to thank the Taalunie and the Dutch Foundation for Literature for their continued support.  

Looking back

Do you want to look back at an earlier visitor? In 2021 we translated an abstract fromTessa Leuwsha's novel Plantation Wildlust, a story is set in the early 20th century, about 50 years after the abolition of slavery in the former Dutch colony of Suriname. Tessa Leuwsha contributed to the session Whose (Hi)story, Whose Words? – Tessa Leuwsha and David McKay in conversation with Henriette Louwerse, which was shown during the Off the Shelf Festival. 

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