André Looijenga (*1982) has been actively involved in Frisian literature for about six years. Recently, he was described as ‘a classical philologist dabbling with poetry’. His verse was lauded as ‘of high quality and rather intelligent’, although admittedly this praise was given by a literary friend in the journal of which he himself is an editor.
André is mainly a writer of non-fiction prose (essays, reviews, travel sketches) and a translator. He is one of the editors of the Frisian literary journal Ensafh, which appears both in print and online. Furthermore, he is working on a book about Frisia in Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, and on an anthology of Frisian literature.
André Looijenga grew up in a Frisian-speaking village, bilingual (a common euphemism for speaking Dutch), and has been recovering his Frisian linguistic identity ever since leaving the Province for his studies. He has read Classical Philology (i.e. Latin and Greek) and Ancient History at Groningen, Amsterdam and Durham (UK). Over the years, his academic interests have shifted towards the cultural history of languages. A teacher and a researcher who isn’t into over-specialisation, he aspires to become an all-round expert on Frisian language, culture and literature.
Currently, his primary literary projects in Frisian are writing a collection of travel stories, with special focus on linguistic diversity, and completing his first collection of poetry. He has translated prose and verse into Frisian from several languages, including English, Scots, German, Latin, Friulian, Polish, Kashubian and Ancient Greek.
In Bitola, he will write a literary travel reportage about the Republic of Macedonia, its languages, history and people. Apart from that, as editor of Ensafh, he wants to collaborate with Macedonian literary journals, establishing enduring connections between the linguistic areas. He wants to work together with poets and translators from Macedonia, in order to translate poetry from Southeastern Europe to the North Sea coast and vice versa.