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Désanne van Brederode new Writer in Residence at VU Amsterdam

13 May 2024
As of June 1st 2024 Désanne van Brederode will be appointed Writer in Residence at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She takes over the baton from Nina Polak and made her entrance at the Abraham Kuyper Lecture in the Amsterdam Westerkerk.

"As Writer in Residence, I chose the theme of 'playful drive': a capacity situated between our physical-emotional and intellectual-moral drives. According to the poet, (drama) writer, and thinker Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805), it is play that truly makes humans human - sensitive, imaginative, free. Instead of 'either/or', not just 'and/and', but a lively, dynamic middle ground that we must continue to create ourselves. How? That is what I hope to explore this year together with others. Sensually, imaginatively. Animated, inspired, with passion!" said Van Brederode about her appointment.

Van Brederode is the eighteenth Writer in Residence at VU Amsterdam and the successor of Nina Polak and previous Writers in Residence such as Arnon Grunberg, Bas Heijne, Maxim Februari, Ernest van der Kwast, Ronald Giphart, Renate Dorrestein, and Abdelkader Benali. Van Brederode's appointment lasts for one year.

"We are incredibly honored to welcome Désanne as the Writer in Residence of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam next year. Not only for her impressive literary achievements and valuable contributions as a philosopher, but also as someone who knows our university well and has a warm heart for it. We look forward to this collaboration, and to the meaningful impact Désanne will have in this special role," said Rector Magnificus Jeroen Geurts.

Désanne van Brederode (1970) is a writer, philosopher, and essayist with an extensive literary oeuvre. She studied philosophy at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and made her debut with the novel "Ave verum corpus" in 1994.

Since then, she has published a large number of other works, including "Mijn denken is een hartstocht" (2002) and the diary "Barsten" (2006). In "Modern dédain" (2006), she criticizes the popularization of art, while "Hart in hart" (2007) explores themes of loss and death. Her work is often imbued with personal experiences, philosophy, and religion.

She recently released her new book 'Hoe het vuur te redden' (How to Save the Fire). In her book, Van Brederode emphasizes how fire enables us to love despite deception, and how an unsafe childhood can also be adventurous. All of this forms a plea for slowing down, feeling, and less distraction in our lives.

In addition to her literary work, Van Brederode was active as a columnist for the political television program Buitenhof and contributed to De Groene Amsterdammer. In 2007, she received the Gerard Walschap Prize for her literary work.

Van Brederode is also involved in social initiatives; she was a board member of The Syrian Committee and is a member of the social advisory board for the Bachelor of Philosophy at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Désanne van Brederode is a prominent figure in both the literary and philosophical community. Furthermore, she remains actively involved in relevant societal issues, using her insights and expertise to contribute to public debate and social progress.

The appointment of the Writer in Residence at VU Amsterdam is made possible in part by VUvereniging. During her tenure as Free Writer, Van Brederode will also give lectures at the Faculty of Humanities.

Photo: Irwan Droog

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