Radio Books: Contemporary Dutch and Flemish short stories – Ivo Michiels

Ivo Michiels (1923-2012) / Wikipedia

Ivo Michiels: “Amandine or the thousand letters of love”

Every now and then, she has to open doors for colleagues of the Red Cross aid agency, but she also writes love letters to Ludović who works as a ticket inspector for the National Railway Company. Although she never gets a reply, she has no intention of giving up her love for the man who once caught a glimpse of her red knickers. She decides to deliver the 1000th letter to Ludović’s house personally.

Ivo Michiels (1923-2012) was born as Henri Ceuppens into a rural Catholic family in Mortsel near Antwerp. After the war, and through self-study, cultural contacts and travel, he acquired the knowledge he needed for the broad range of jobs he had during his life. In addition to being a novelist, he was a journalist, founded leading magazines and taught at art and drama schools. Moreover, Michiels worked on programmes for Belgian radio and television and wrote scenarios for short films, films and documentaries.

From Alfa (1963), which is now regarded as a classic, onwards, he could be described as a formalistic writer who sets aside everything typical of traditional narrative to arrive at a text that brings about direct contact with the reader.

His work has won various prizes in the Netherlands and Belgium, and he has been awarded the prestigious “alternative Nobel Prize in Literature, the America Award, which he received from the Contemporary Arts Educational Project “for his lifetime contribution to international writing”. Previous winners include such literary giants as Harold Pinter, Peter Handke, and José Saramago. In 1977 he was awarded the Belgian State Prize for Narrative Prose for Een tuin tussen hond en wolf.

Presented by David Swatling and read by Jackie Carver. Translation by John Nieuwenhuizen.

Radio Books was produced between 2008 and 2010 in association with the Dutch-Flemish Huis de Buren in Brussels and the Flemisch broacaster Klara.

You can listen to the entire series of over one hundred stories by going to: