The Open Book Pro – Becoming a Real Book Lecturer

It's finally happened: I am now an official Book Lecturer! It's a dream come true!

Ever since I did my first literary lecture, five years ago, at the Waterstones in Amsterdam, it has been my dream to do this on a regular basis. Or, to be more precise, I want to do this professionally. So far, I have now done five lectures, which, come to think of it, is actually very regular since that means I do exactly one lecture a year. Well. Things are about to change, however. Want to know how? Read on!

In August last year, I joined the so-called Noorwoord Talent Team, which is a foundation that supports literary talents in the north of the Netherlands. Even though I don’t actually write fiction (apart from the occasional fairy tale, of course), they still considered my writing skills good enough to secure a place on the team. There were supposed to be workshops and lectures, as well as opportunities to appear on literary festivals, but due to the Corona virus nothing has actually happened yet. Until last week, that is…

Some time ago, I emailed the director of the Talent Team asking if I could appear at a literary festival. It all looked very good, until there was yet another lockdown, and the festival was cancelled. However, two weeks later I received an email saying he might have a job for me; he used to be on a book talk panel of a literary book club, but he felt like it was time to move on. And, he told me, I would be the perfect candidate to fill his position.

It worked as follows, he said: this book club, called Literatuurclub Drenthe, sends four books to their members (1500 of them!) each year, provides them with a reading guide, and organises a lecture for each of the books they have picked. And yes, one of these lectures will be given by me! I will also do a question round afterwards, which might be even more exciting, for I have no idea what kind of audience I can expect…

Nor do I have any idea which books I will be talking about, but I think that’s part of the fun. Each year, these four books are selected by a committee which work in the exact same way as the Oscars, for they only pick new books, and the four books have to be chosen unanimously. Then the four lecturers will have to decide which book they want to talk about, and hopefully everyone will have a book they actually like. However, as you might have noticed here on The Open Book, I even find stuff to talk about when I’ve read a book I absolutely don’t like (such as this one, or this one), so that shouldn’t be a problem.

I could talk about the themes, for instance, or the historical background. I could also talk about the structure of the book, or the characters, or the language or style used in it. I could focus, for a bit, about my personal experience with the book, or the differences between other books written by the same author, or books about the same topic written by different authors. Whatever I will talk about, however, I hope it will be educational both for myself and for my audience (a real-life audience, how very exciting!).

This literary club was founded over fifty years ago by inhabitants of the rural areas who decided they still want to read a decent book every year. That means over two hundred books have been discussed so far, and, starting this August, I will also be part of this tradition. The Open Book will finally exist outside of this digital world.

Let’s hope my dream will finally come true!

Which book would you love to attend a lecture about? Or which book do you feel confident you could give a lecture about? What would you like to hear about in a lecture? Would you like to join a book club (or, more specifically, this one)? Please share in the comments! Also, don’t forget to follow me for more book-related posts (and, hopefully, many more lectures)!


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