Gerard De Jong
Gerard De Jong (1979) has been the editor of The Bildtse Post for seventeen years. In 2000, he took over the newspaper from his grandfather Gerryt Dirks De Jong. Gerard de Jong has a broad journalistic experience.
While in San Sebastian, he wants to write a short story in the Bildt language, his mother tongue, a non-Frisian regional minor language in the Province of Friesland; a language which developed from the sixteenth century when Dutch dike workers and farm workers emigrated to Friesland in order to win land from the sea in the Bildt region.
The title of the novella De Jong will be writing in San Sebastián is ‘Blau fan dagen, griis fan onrust’ (Blue of days, grey of anxiety). It is his literary debut: a fact-based historical story about the Bildt awareness, seen through the eyes of three generations of inhabitants of the region. It describes the main developments of and threats to the Bildt language and culture from 1980 up until now.
De Jong: ‘With my literary novella I hope to achieve something; to acknowledge and to anchor the Bildt language as a language for literature. To show that it is possible to put the spade in new ground and gain terrain like a literary mud worker: fertile soil on which growing can be continued. It is my personal mission and guiding force in life. The literary stay in San Sebastian is a unique, ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to realize this dream.’
Amongst others, De Jong seeks in his novella and blogs, the answer to this question: ‘How can we use literature to give a minor language (that is threatened by extinction) like the Bildt language with only 6,000 speakers, a chance to survive, to make it stronger. To create a foundation from which this language can experience a new spring and face a solid future.