Life lessons from an award-winning storyteller

Dutch author Joke van Leeuwen won the heart of Belgian readers by encouraging them to seek humor and beauty in unexpected situations.

Marjan Justaert
Marjan Justaert De Standaard, Belgium
Source: De Standaard
Life lessons from an award-winning storyteller - NewsMavens
Joke van Leeuwen, photo by Michiel Hendryckx, Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

Joke van Leeuwen has five rules for life which she hopes her readers will adopt. First, enjoy deep concentration. Second, ask questions before you judge.

Her third piece of advice is to embrace humor at all times, and she finds that this is something the most powerful among us -- men, most often --  fail to do.

She also advises her readers to look for beauty all around them. And finally, know your past. By following these rules, she hopes Belgians can avoid taking themselves too seriously -- a behavior which paves the road to power abuse, she believes.

Details from the story:

  • Born in the Netherlands, Joke van Leeuwen (1952) studied in Brussels and lives in Antwerp. Belgium embraces the talented, socially driven writer.
  • She writes stories and poems for children, which she illustrates herself, and writes prose and poetry for adults. 
  • According to the Dutch "literati", Joke van Leeuwen "champions the uninhibited way children look at the world, fighting against repression and narrow-mindedness." She demonstrates that high literature need not be inaccessible.
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