Since 1987, the NS Audience Prize for the Dutch Book is awarded to the title that receives the most votes from the public. To be nominated for the NS Publieksprijs, the book should be commercially successful, namely, be one of the year’s six best-selling books. As reported by RTV Drenthe, Lévi Weemoedt from Assen managed to write such poems about melancholy that were sold out very quickly.
‘I had the thinnest book of all nominees. Maybe that’s why I was nominated,’ says 71-year-old poet with a broad smile. ‘I believe that between 85,000 and 90,000 copies of my poetry book have been sold at the moment. I think that due to all this attention, it will also reach the 100,000. That’s actually crazy for a collection of poems!’
Weemoedt’s poetry collection You can learn pessimism! was firstly sold out within fifteen minutes after he participated in television programme De Wereld Draait Door (The World Moves On). However, the poet always emphasises that it was the writer and columnist Özkan Akyol who chose his seventy poems and collected them into You can learn pessimism! in honour of Weemoedt’s seventieth birthday.
The birthday anthology is now competing for the Dutch Public Prize with such books as Grand Hotel Europa by Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer, Otmar’s sons by Peter Buwalda, Language for fun by Paulien Cornelisse, Be invisible by Murat Isik and Rinkeldekink by Martine Bijl.
It is voting time
To choose the Book of the Year, those who love reading can vote from 23 October to 20 November 2019 on the website of the NS Publieksprijs. The winning book will be announced on 20 November, during the episode of the De Wereld Draait Door television programme. In 2001, the award went to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling, while Dutch non-fiction writer Geert Mak won the title twice, with My Father’s Century and In Europa in 2000 and 2014 respectively.
Expectations vs. Reality
RTV Drenthe also reported that NS director Roger van Boxtel highlighted one particular poem by Lévi Weemoedt:
“The one who needs to be at the station daily
Is less and less hoping that something runs like a train”