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Michael De Cock  [ Belgium ]

Biography

Michael De Cock Portrait
© Hartwig Klappert

Guest 2014.

Bibliography

Floor, Oto en Titus [Ill: Cécile Betrand] StandaardAntwerpen, 2004

Rosie und Moussa [Ill: Judith Vanistendael] Beltz & Gelberg Weinheim, 2013 [Ü: Rolf Erdorf]

Rosie und Moussa. Der Brief von Papa [Ill: Judith Vanistendael] Beltz & Gelberg Weinheim, 2014 [Ü: Rolf Erdorf]

Rosie und Moussa. Beste Freunde für immer [Ill: Judith Vanistendael] Beltz & GelbergWeinheim, 2014 [Ü: Rolf Erdorf]

Het geheim van Rosie en Moussa [Ill: Judith Vanistendael]

Querido Amsterdam, 2014

Michael De Cock was born in Mortsel, Belgium, in 1972. He attended the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, first studying Romance languages and literature, followed by drama. Since 2000 he has worked as an actor in television series. He has also authored plays for children, adults and young adults, which are the often fruit of time-consuming research. Over a period of six months, for instance, he interviewed refugees, shadowed them in asylum centres, accompanied them on visits to lawyers, and talked to them about their problems, worries and dreams. He published the findings of his research as a play, and in book form under the title »Op een onzeker uur. Verhalen van vluchtelingen« (2004; tr: Uncertain Hours. Refugee Stories). For his play and book »Hoe mensen sterven« (2006; tr: How People Die), De Cock completed a number of internships, each of several months’ duration, at various palliative care units. He spoke to patients and their relatives, to doctors, priests and social workers; the result is an inspiring book about death in contemporary society delivered in a sober, descriptive tone.

De Cocks first children's book, »Floor, Otto en Titus« (tr: Floor, Otto and Titus) came out in 2004. This collection of short stories centres on the titular characters, addressing such issues as friendship, fear and anger, all delivered in a lyrical style. With »Rosie en Moussa« (2010; tr: Rosie and Moussa), »Rosie en Moussa. De Brief van Papa« (2012; tr: Rosie and Moussa. The Letter from Dad) and »Rosie en Moussa. Beste vrienden voor altijd« (2013; tr: Rosie and Moussa. Best Friends Forever), De Cock worked with illustrator Judith Vanistendael to create three books for children that present insightful, exciting and humorous episodes in the life of Rosie and Moussa using beautiful images and simple words that nevertheless carry literary weight. It deals with themes of friendship, courage, truth and lies, also touching on family conflicts, childhood hardship, the large and small lies that children tell and, not least, social interaction in a multicultural city. De Cock and Vanistedael emerge as close observers of children’s everyday lives, with a clear understanding of their protagonists’ thoughts and emotions. De Cock has issued 14 books to date.

Along with his work as an author, De Cock has served as the artist director of »t,arsenaal« theatre in Mechelen since 2006. There he has staged over twenty plays, many of which he wrote himself. The subject matter of his literary and theatrical works show him to be a socially engaged artist with a critical approach to the big issues of contemporary society. De Cock has received several awards for his plays and books in both Belgium and the Netherlands. He lives with his wife and their five children in Antwerp.

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