Sign of the Times: Édouard Louis
Édouard Louis is considered to be one of the biggest French literary sensations of the moment. The tenth edition of the ITA festival Brandhaarden will focus on the work of the 28-year-old and show stage versions of all his novels. He is our guest of honour during this special edition of Sign of the Times.
Édouard Louis (Hallencourt, France, 1992) – born as Eddy Bellegueule – was born and raised in the north of France, which also forms the background for his first novel En finir avec Eddy Bellegueule (The End of Eddy). Louis grew up in a poor family: his father, a factory worker, was unemployed and his mother was sometimes able to work in an elderly-care facility. The family received financial aid from the government.
The poverty, racism and alcoholism that Louis was confronted with during his youth would become the main subjects of his literary work. Intellectually, he is strongly influenced by French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. He was the first in his family to go to university and in 2011, he was accepted to the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. In 2013, he officially changed his name to Édouard Louis.
In January 2014, he published En finir avec Eddy Bellegueule. The book received much media attention and was praised for its literary merit and gripping story. What’s more, the book gave way to discussion and controversy about the perception of the working class. Louis’ first novel was followed by Histoire de la violence (History of Violence) in 2016 and Qui a tué mon père (Who Killed My Father) in 2018. His work is now being adapted for theatre across the globe. Who Killed My Father is being staged in the Internationaal Theater Amsterdam since June 2020.
Sign of the Times
In Sign of the Times, the Internationaal Theater Amsterdam and De Balie explore today’s socially relevant themes during a unique combination of theatre and conversation. In previous editions, Femke Halsema and Thierry Baudet discussed identity politics; we talked about the outrage of the Catalan people with Carles Puigdemont, who fled from Spain; French writer Kamel Daoud shone a light on his colonial identity; and Maaike Meijer and Sylvana Simons explored the age-old taboo against female anger.
With Sign of the Times, De Balie and Internationaal Theater Amsterdam hope to open up a dialogue, bring groups of people together and create room for multiple perspectives. Even – or maybe especially – if opinions differ.