Friday, May 13, 2011

Surinamese-Dutch writer Clark Accord has died (50)

Via RNW: Surinamese-Dutch writer Clark Accord passed away in an Amsterdam hospital on Wednesday evening 11 May after losing his fight against cancer. He was 50 years old.

Clark Accord lived in Amsterdam, but his work always contained the tropical flavour of the Caribbean. Born in Paramaribo in 1961, he moved to the Netherlands when he was 17 years old. After finishing high school in Amsterdam, he first trained and worked as a nurse. He went back to school to follow a new career as make-up artist, which led to successful work in Vienna, Zurich and Vancouver - as well as stints in fashion centres such as Milan, New York, London and Paris.

Mr Accord said he began writing because he couldn't find the kind of books he himself liked to read. For his first novel, he decided to research a legendary figure in Surinam's 20th century history: Wilhemina Angelica Adriana Merian Rijburg (1902-1981). Better known as Maxi Linder, she was the country's most famous prostitute.

Queen of Paramaribo
Approaching the story like a journalist, Clark Accord interviewed her friends and associates to discover the truth behind the gossip and myths surrounding the glamorous woman. "In Maxi Linder we find good and evil," said Mr Accord, "and that is the story I wanted to write."

The musical 'De koningin van Paramaribo' (The Queen of Paramaribo) with Sarina Vroon as Maxi Linder (The Queen of Paramaribo

"Betsy had almost reached the entrance when Maxi Linder, accompanied by two naval officers, cut in front of her. Maxi spit demonstratively on the sand and rolled her eyes in Betsy's direction. She was covered from head to toe in gold jewellery. Too bad it clashed with the tacky dress she had on. What's more, her hair had been swept up in a ridiculous roll on top of her head, and she wasn't wearing a bit of make-up. Since Maxi Linder and her party were blocking the doorway, Betsy had no choice but to wait. With Maxi on the scene, the public had lost all interest in Betsy."

'De koningin van Paramaribo' (The Queen of Paramaribo) became a best seller in The Netherlands with some 100,000 copies in print. The book has been translated into several languages and a movie version is planned.

For Radio Books, Clard Accord wrote a day-in-the life story, you can listen to it at Radio Netherlands Worldwide

Clark Accord also was a columnist for the Dutch newspaper Het Parool. In his columns he wrote about social issues, politics and about the black community. And together with Anousha Nzume he presented the talkshow "LET'S TALK BLACK!" where he talked about black issues.

An interview with artistic director Anousha Nzume about the musical theatre version of the book and two performances.

There is so much more to say about him. I am going to miss him. Rest in peace Clark and thanks for everything.


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