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David Van Reybrouck

Biography

David Van Reybrouck (b. 1971) is a Flemish scientist, cultural historian and author. He studied archaeology and philosophy in Leuven and Cambridge and obtained his PhD in 2000. In addition to this, Van Reybrouck is a freelance journalist for De Morgen newspaper, and has published essays and reports in Knack, NRC Handelsblad, and De Groene Amsterdammer. He was chairman of PEN Flanders for several years and together with the poet Peter Vermeersch developed the Brussels Poetry Collective, which is coordinated by Passa Porta.

In 2001 Van Reybrouck made his debut with the literary essay De Plaag (The Plague), for which he received the Debut Prize. In 2004 he and Josse De Pauw wrote the play Die Siel van die Mier (The Soul of the White Ant), crowned with the Language Union Award for Playwrights and the Play Script Prize from the Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature in 2007. Van Reybroyck was also longlisted for the AKO Literature Prize and the Golden Owl for his novel Slagschaduw (Cast Shadow) (2007), and he won the Ark Prize of the Free Word in 2008 for his play Missie (Mission) (2007).

In 2008 Van Reybrouck published Pleidooi voor populisme (A Plea for Populism), a pamphlet on the subject of a ‘better' populism, where the low educated are also involved in the political debate. The G1000 project, which created a platform for democratic innovation, demonstrates his interest in the current political landscape.

Two years later, Congo. Een geschiedenis (Congo. The Epic History of a People, Harper Collins Publishers, 2014) was published. The book was written on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the country's independence. For this voluminous work Van Reybrouck received the AKO Literature Prize, the Libris History Prize and the Prix Médicis for Essay, among others. The book is an international success and has already been translated into German, English, French, Norwegian and Swedish. During the writing process, Van Reybrouck not only relied on rare archive material and trail-blazing research, but also on hundreds of conversations he had with the Congolese population.

Via Passa Porta, David Van Reybrouck has already stayed in Amsterdam. In the autumn of 2015 he will reside at Ledig House, in the state of New York. 

 

Read more on his website.

 

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