Day Three: Time's Up

by Jack McMartin, reporting from the Passa Porta Seminar at Villa Hellebosch, Vollezele

10:00 a.m. ticks by. The sturdy round table around which we've been gathering for the past three days is vacant, save a stack of books. Their authors linger on the patio, talking and enjoying the morning sun. A camaraderie has formed, and it is stronger than a clock. Eventually, the final session convenes, a discussion begins, ends. Our authors turn their attention to the evening’s event in Flagey. Their task: to share the special time spent over the past three days with the public. How will they ever manage that?

Jens Christian Grøndahl
With words, of course.

“The great art of writing is the art of making people real to themselves with words,” reads Jens Christian to an audience of 200+.

Our seven writers spend the evening doing just that: an excerpt from Juan Gabriel’s thought-provoking keynote, “Getting Poems from the News”; a conversation between Goce and Céline about giving voice to the nameless and forgotten through historical and contemporary fiction; a ‘stand-up philosophy’ session from Joke calling our consciousness to the creative time of Kairos; a conversation between Anne and Iman about seeking answers and finding questions; an excerpt from Jens Christian’s masterful keynote, “News and the Writer” – all tied together by moderator Ortwin.

10:00 p.m. ticks by and The Time of the Author ends. I am reminded of Céline’s reflection on Jens Christian’s keynote during the morning’s discussion: “What if the art of writing is the art of making the writer real to himself with words?” After three days of sharing words – spoken, read, written – with one another (not to mention meals, bathrooms and many bottles of red wine), I find gratitude and comfort in that thought, and I hope it to be true.

Check back in two weeks for the final report on ‘The Time of the Author’.

Iman Humaydan & Anne Provoost with Ortwin de Graef

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