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This interview is taken from PN Review 261, Volume 48 Number 1, September - October 2021.

in conversation with Radna Fabias
‘Gloriously Filthy Tongues’
Michele Hutchison
an interview with Dutch-Antillean poet Radna Fabias

Radna Fabias (Curaçao, 1983) was born and raised in the Dutch Antilles and moved to the Netherlands at the age of seventeen. She studied Drama Writing at Utrecht’s Academy for the Arts. Her debut collection Habitus (2018) won win six major awards, establishing her as one of the most striking new voices in Dutch poetry.

The collection’s title is inspired by the work of French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. His concept of habitus refers to the way individuals perceive the social world around them and react to it.

Michele Hutchison: What effect has winning these prizes had on your writing practice? Are you able to shut it all out?

Radna Fabias: What happened in the last two years is only really sinking in now. It was intense. My writing wasn’t focussed on the public or on publication. Before my collection came out, I was writing away in peace and quiet. I remember discussions at the academy about when you can call yourself a writer – is it only when you have readers? I think you are a writer if you’re writing, but they made valid points. I sent a poem to a poetry competition and it won a prize. Someone in the jury, a poet, sent it to her publisher without me knowing. Then the publisher got in touch and asked if I had more. I sent some poems, but not directly because the way I work is quite circumlocutory. I call it all writing but I was conducting ...

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