About Citybooks

citybooks are short stories about cities written by famous authors and up-and-coming literary talents. Perfect for on your e-reader, or for a lazy listening session on your mp3 player. Let the power of imagination carry you all over the world!

About the writers

Hassan Blasim (1973) is Iraqi-Finnish author who writes in Arabic. He is best known for his short stories but his work also includes poems, theatre and film. His books have been translated into over 20 languages. Blasim's second short story collection, The Iraqi Christ won the 2014 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize - the first Arabic title and the first short story collection ever to win the award. Blasim has also won the PEN-award three times. In 2014 his short story collection The Corpse Exhibition (Penguin US) was published. Blasim was described by The Guardian as “perhaps the best writer of Arabic fiction alive.” For citybooks, Hassan Blasim took up residency in Leeuwarden in December 2017. His citybook can be read and listened to in Arabic, Dutch, English and Frisian.

Erik Vlaminck (1954, Kapellen) is a novelist and playwright. He earned recognition for his six-part novel cycle Het schismatieke schrijven: kroniek van een familie (Schismatic Writing: Chronicle of a Family) about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people in twentieth century Flanders. His novel Suikerspin (2008) marked his breakthrough to a wider audience, and Brandlucht (2011) and De zwarte brug (2016) were also warmly received. Vlaminck has worked as a playwright for various renowned companies. His engagement with society is evidenced too in his regular column 'Brieven van Dikke Freddy', in which the homeless protagonist maps his struggles, thereby offering a commentary on inequality, discrimination and poverty. These writings have been collected in book form as Brieven van Dikke Freddy (2000), Meer brieven van Dikke Freddy (2007), Hoogachtend, Dikke Freddy (2013) and Dikke Freddy aan Zee (2016). He has led the Antwerpse Schrijversacademie, is the co-founder of the Vlaamse Auteursvereniging and has been the chair of the Koninlijke Academie voor Nederlandse Taal- en Letterkunde since 2015. For deBuren, Vlaminck has previously written the Radiobook 'Oversized Domestic Waste and the Neighbours'. In January 2018, he visited Leeuwarden to write a citybook about the Frisian capital city.

Arjan Hut (1976, Drachten) is a Frisian-language writer and poet. He made his debut in 2004 with the collection Nachtswimmers, and his most recent collection, Aurora Bossa Nova, came out in 2016. In 2005 he was made the first poet laureate of the Frisian capital city, Leeuwarden. The Frisian language is supposedly well-suited to crooning about the local landscape, farming life and natural environment; the closest that Hut comes to cows, however, is when the refrigerated meat lorries drive past his apartment en route to the supermarkets before sunrise. Instead, he uses Frisian as a personal, urban language. ‘Those that see Arjan Hut wandering through Leeuwarden with his dreamy gaze can hardly believe that he’s busy absorbing every last detail of the city. Indeed, this ‘new Leeuwarder’ knows the city more deeply than many a native,’ writes author Henk Wolf about Hut. Hut himself: ‘I’m more of a bossanova-poet than a saudade-poet.’ For citybooks Arjan Hut wrote about the city he calls home, Leeuwarden.

A writer, vocalist and sound artist, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs is the author of TwERK (Belladonna, 2013). Her interdisciplinary work has been featured at the Brooklyn Museum, Museum of Modern Art, the Walker Art Center and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the QOW conference in Slovakia, at Poesiefestival Berlin and the International Poetry Festival in Bucharest, the 56th Venice Biennale and in Beijing as a Red Gate Artist in Residence. As a curator and director, she has staged events at BAM Café, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, The David Rubenstein Atrium, The Highline, Poets House and El Museo del Barrio. LaTasha is the recipient of numerous awards; of them include New York Foundation for the Arts, Barbara Deming Memorial Grant, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant, the Japan-US Friendship Commission, Creative Capital and the Whiting Foundation Literary Award. She lives in Harlem, New York. LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs was a citybooks guest in the Dutch city of Leeuwarden in September 2018. For two weeks she explored the city and inspired by her stay wrote a city portrait about the Frysian capital.

Chantal Rens (1981, Etten-Leur) studied at the Academy of Visual Arts (disciplines textile and 3-dimensional design) in Tilburg. In 2002 she won the De Pont Atelier Award and the Stimuleringsprijs (Incentive Award) for Visual Arts from the Municipality of Tilburg. Her work consists mainly of artists' books and collages with photography as a starting point.  Chantal Rens presented her citybook in Leeuwarden from November 11 to December 8 2018. Rens made a memory game of the snapshots for the exhibition. In addition, she made a series of collages from her own photographs - unusual for her work, in which she generally uses found images. She transformed the collages into a second memory game, but also displays them in found photo frames and printed on a pillow.

Anne Margot Stapert (1993, Jorwerd) studied illustration at the Minerva Art Academy in Groningen. She collects images from (fashion) magazines and nature books. She uses these images as inspiration and material for her digital collages. During her studies she did an internship in New York at The Society of Illustrators and other places. After graduating in 2016, she founded the illustration collective 'Knetterijs' together with a group of friends and they worked for several clients, such as Trouw and Hanze Hogeschool. For citybooks Leeuwarden she made a visual portrait of the city in the summer of 2018. She immersed herself in the history of the city and mixed that with contemporary cityscape images in a series of digital collages.