While I was writing The Engraver, I imagined most of the characters spoke Dutch to one another. The seventeenth-century protagonist Antonia chattered in Dutch to the family maid as they walked to Grotemarkt in the centre of Antwerp. The modern-day protagonist Charlotte spoke Dutch to her work colleagues at Antwerp University. I scattered Dutch words throughout the story to flavour its Antwerp setting and hint at the preferred language of the characters.
Years before I completed the final edits of The Engraver, I dreamed my story would be translated into Dutch and displayed for sale in bookshops in Belgium and the Netherlands. On 21 February 2022, this dream will become reality.
Given the book’s Antwerp setting and the characters’ preference for the Dutch language, I am delighted The Engraver will first be published in Dutch – with the title De Graveur – by Antwerp-based publisher Horizon Publishing. It is a dream come true.
It is a surreal experience for me to open the cover of De Graveur, scan the pages and realise my novel is in a foreign language. Although I’ve lived in the Netherlands for many years and understand basic written Dutch, I struggle to speak the language. Petra Van Caneghem, the translator of The Engraver, is able to translate into Dutch from eight languages. I am in awe of those who have mastered more than one language. To be fluent in eight is beyond amazing.
Several polyglots feature in The Engraver. Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens and engraver Lucas Vorsterman were proficient in numerous languages; so, too, were my fictional characters Antonia and Charlotte. Polyglots are everywhere, although absent from my household.
De Graveur will be released on 21 February 2022 in the Netherlands and Belgium, and can now be pre-ordered from all major bookstores and online booksellers. Simply go to your favourite bookseller to purchase your copy of De Graveur.
To those waiting for the English edition of The Engraver, we’re working on that. To the polyglots amongst you, I hope you enjoy De Graveur.