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Stefan-hertmans
Stefan Hertmans

The Ascent: A House can have Many Secrets

Stefan Hertmans Interviewed by Max Liu

Saturday, 1 April 2023

4:00pm

1 hour

Oxford Martin School: Seminar Room

£7 - £12.50

Novelist Stefan Hertmans explains the inspiration behind his latest novel, The Ascent: A House can have Many Secrets, written after he discovered that the home he had lovingly restored to become his sanctuary was once occupied by a Nazi war criminal.

Hertmans fell in love with the decaying house in Ghent, Belgium, in 1979 and spent years restoring it. He was shocked to discover that a bust of Hitler once sat on the mantelpiece and that a Nazi war criminal and his family lived there. Hertmans set out to uncover the story of the house and to reimagine the man’s life and expose the atrocities he was responsible for. The story of Willem Verhulst is a chilling case study of the Nazi mentality and of the tragedy of Flemish collaboration during World War Two.

Hertmans is an award-winning novelist, poet and playwright. His first novel to be translated into English, War and Turpentine, was longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize.

Part of Flip Through Flanders, presented by Flanders Literature in association with Modern Culture.

This event is part of the festival’s Voices of Europe programme.

Event in association with

Event supported by

The Feathers Hotel Woodstock festival hotel The Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels Sponsor of the festival crime fiction programme Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller International Literary Properties Supporters of the festival green room The Dorchester Hotels Collection Festival London hotel partner Italian Embassy Supporter of Italian programme Republic of Panama Event generously supported by Republic of Panama Cervantes Institute, London Spanish Embassy Event generously supported by the Spanish Embassy Oxford Martin School Festival ideas partner Bodleian Libraries Festival cultural partner Owen Mumford Supporter of programme of science and medicine and annual science and innovation award BBC World Service International radio partner Cultural Relations Platform Supporter of the festival's Voices of Europe programme European Union Delegation of the European Union to the United Kingdom Netflix University of Oxford FT Weekend Title partner Marlene Hauser Mary and Cecil Quillen Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture Jill Dunsmore David Isaac Carole and John Allen Lucian Hudson Pank Koria CEO of Project People Masumi and Jonathan Dobson Miles Young Emily Rose and James Marrow Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture George Warren Lady Hatch Patron donor for the programme of Irish literature and culture John Roberts Trinity College Trinity College St Cross College St Cross College Lincoln College Lincoln College Worcester College Worcester College New College Exeter College Exeter College: college home of the festival Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies British Academy Royal Academy of Arts Project People Institute of Hospitality Thje Menu Partners Foodbuy Jewish Book Week Partner of Jewish programme Bantam Doubleday Doubleday Transworld TORVA Books which change you, your mind, your world Princeton University Press Prestige publishing partner Symington Wines of the Douro Valley Compassion in World Farming Pasture to Plate Oxford Brookes University Oxford University Images Oxford University Images The Sheldonian Theatre Critchleys Accountants to the festival CAV Oxford Felicity Bryan Associates Conference Oxford Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies University of Oxford Alumni Office Alumni Office Paul Bloomfield Ltd Bear Ram Elk Festival Digital Strategy & Web Design BBC Radio Oxford Local radio partner The Oxford Times Regional media partner Racalia Olive Oil Olive oil from Sicily Schoolreaders The Litmus Partnership K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography Ox in a Box OX magazine Siren Communications Siren Communications - corporate consultants Chêne Bleu Wines of Provence The Wild Geese James Currey Society Pusey House Confucius Institute Literature Ireland Flip through Flanders
 

FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival sponsors, donors & partners

The Feathers Hotel Woodstock festival hotel The Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels Sponsor of the festival crime fiction programme Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller International Literary Properties Supporters of the festival green room The Dorchester Hotels Collection Festival London hotel partner Italian Embassy Supporter of Italian programme Republic of Panama Event generously supported by Republic of Panama Cervantes Institute, London Spanish Embassy Event generously supported by the Spanish Embassy Oxford Martin School Festival ideas partner Bodleian Libraries Festival cultural partner Owen Mumford Supporter of programme of science and medicine and annual science and innovation award BBC World Service International radio partner Cultural Relations Platform Supporter of the festival's Voices of Europe programme European Union Delegation of the European Union to the United Kingdom Netflix University of Oxford FT Weekend Title partner Marlene Hauser Mary and Cecil Quillen Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture Jill Dunsmore David Isaac Carole and John Allen Lucian Hudson Pank Koria CEO of Project People Masumi and Jonathan Dobson Miles Young Emily Rose and James Marrow Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture George Warren Lady Hatch Patron donor for the programme of Irish literature and culture John Roberts Trinity College Trinity College St Cross College St Cross College Lincoln College Lincoln College Worcester College Worcester College New College Exeter College Exeter College: college home of the festival Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies British Academy Royal Academy of Arts Project People Institute of Hospitality Thje Menu Partners Foodbuy Jewish Book Week Partner of Jewish programme Bantam Doubleday Doubleday Transworld TORVA Books which change you, your mind, your world Princeton University Press Prestige publishing partner Symington Wines of the Douro Valley Compassion in World Farming Pasture to Plate Oxford Brookes University Oxford University Images Oxford University Images The Sheldonian Theatre Critchleys Accountants to the festival CAV Oxford Felicity Bryan Associates Conference Oxford Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies University of Oxford Alumni Office Alumni Office Paul Bloomfield Ltd Bear Ram Elk Festival Digital Strategy & Web Design BBC Radio Oxford Local radio partner The Oxford Times Regional media partner Racalia Olive Oil Olive oil from Sicily Schoolreaders The Litmus Partnership K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography Ox in a Box OX magazine Siren Communications Siren Communications - corporate consultants Chêne Bleu Wines of Provence The Wild Geese James Currey Society Pusey House Confucius Institute Literature Ireland Flip through Flanders