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Nina Polak new Writer in Residence at VU Amsterdam

15 May 2023
As of June 1st 2023 Nina Polak will be appointed Writer in Residence at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She takes over the baton from Gustaaf Peek who said farewell with the Abraham Kuyper Lecture at the Westerkerk in Amsterdam.

"It is a great honor to be associated with VU Amsterdam as Writer in Residence for upcoming year. I am very much looking forward to engage with students, about the world, their world and literature," Polak said of her appointment.

Polak is the seventeenth Writer in Residence at VU Amsterdam and the successor to Gustaaf Peek and previous writers such as Babs Gons, Maxim Februari, Arnon Grunberg, Bas Heijne, Ernest van der Kwast, Ronald Giphart, Renate Dorrestein and Abdelkader Benali. Her appointment will last one year.

"I am extremely happy with Nina Polak's appointment as Writer in Residence at VU Amsterdam. In her books, she works with the theme of diversity, which is an important focus for our university. Her novel Buitenleven from 2022 became the Tzum-BruutTAAL Regenboogboek 2022. This recognition is awarded to an original Dutch-language work of fiction from the LGBTQI+ spectrum. I am sure she will appeal to many, equal students and staff, on our campus and wish her much inspiration in the coming year," said Rector Magnificus Jeroen Geurts.

Nina Polak (1986) writes fiction and non-fiction. She made her debut in 2014 with We zullen niet te pletter slaan. This novel was nominated three times for an award (the Anton Wachter Prijs 2014, the ANV Debutantenprijs 2015 and the Opzij Literatuurprijs 2015). Polak studied Literary Studies and Cultural Analysis at University of Amsterdam and in New York. From 2009 to 2012, she was editor of the Amsterdam student weekly Propria Cures. She also published for De Gids and De Groene Amsterdammer. From 2013, she is also culture correspondent for De Correspondent.

Polak's next novel Gebrek is een groot woord was awarded the BNG Bank Literatuurprijs in 2018 and the literary youth award De Inktaap in 2020. Her third novel Buitenleven was published in 2022 and became the 2022 Tzum-BruutTAAL Rainbow Book of the Year. She was also awarded the Jonge Veer prize for her "virtuoso handling of language, the written word and strengthening the reading culture among younger generations".  In 2017, Dutch Broadcasting Association NTR published a diptych with Polak and Adriaan van Dis comparing the two writers' lives and work. 2021 saw the premiere of Een vrouw blijft thuis, Polak's first written play. 

The appointment of the Writer in Residence at VU is co-sponsored by VUvereniging. Polak will also lecture at the Faculty of Humanities during her Writer in Residence. Her first public appearance will be during the Opening of the Academic Year on 4 September in the Aula of the VU main building, from 15:30 - 17:00.

Photo: Nina Schollaardt