Art in Times of Corona: Dutch children’s books presented on video
For the annual Children’s Book Fair in Bologna – the most important international book fair for children’s books – the Dutch Foundation for Literature usually provides a brochure with a selection of titles they recommend to foreign publishers. As the fair was cancelled this year due to the corona crisis, they wanted to come up with a different way to get the publishers' attention for these books. Instead of simply sending a pdf-file of this year’s brochure, Agnes Vogt, head of the foundation’s international department, came up with a better idea. She asked the writers and illustrators of the books to make a one-minute video in which they present their book. Vogt explains: “For a foreign publisher, this is essentially the most informative: to hear from the makers themselves what they have to say about their work.”
The idea resulted in a series of short videos from a range of different Dutch authors and illustrators. The reactions have been overwhelmingly positive. “We got responses from Chinese, German and French publishers,” says Vogt. While the series is predominantly intended for publishers to get acquainted with the books, the videos are absolutely worth watching for those who wish to get a glimpse of some of the best Dutch authors and illustrators. Among those are Gideon Samson (Zeb.), Milja Praagman (I want a horse), Edward van de Vendel (Miss Unicorn), Tonke Dragt (Eye of the tigers), and Bette Westera and Sylvia Weve (Breaking up).
The Dutch Foundation for Literature supports writers, translators, and publishers in a book world that is changing rapidly. It draws attention to Dutch literature abroad and to foreign literature in the Netherlands. The work of the foundation contributes to the quality of literature written in Dutch and the diversity of literature available to readers and helps to make the Dutch literary world truly international.