For the glossy INKT, a bimonthly Dutch magazine for 'everybody who loves to read' I interviewed the beautiful French/American poet, Nathalie Handal. Actually, the invitation for an iftar-dinner from the US Ambassador to The Netherlands inspired me.
It's a tradition that once a year, during the Ramadan, the American Ambassador organizes an iftar (a dinner). I love these rather 'informal' gatherings with people I know from several other networks. Religious, non-religious, secular friends and colleagues come to share that peaceful inner moment, that you only can experience while eating together. And this year, I was honored when I was asked for advice what to serve on the menu. Of course I suggested my lentl soup :-)
But there is another reason why this year's iftar is going to be even more special. Nathalie Handal is going to read her poems. I had heard her name several times before but never realized she would be mediterranean or Arab or even Muslim. Even though I had not met her, I strongly felt connected and she inspired me immediately. It was her intelligence, her artistic talent but most of all her 'accessibility'. I sent her an email and requested an interview. She responded immediately, warmly and with mutual respect. She had surfed to my Website and was looking forward to meet me.
I read about her, I read her poems and the questions came spontaneously.
The interview was great and the editor of INKT was super-enthusiastic. I hope that Nathalie’s work will become well-known in Holland and Belgium, that we can read her poems in Dutch soon.
But there is another thing I felt while I was doing this. In Dutch we have a saying 'in hart en nieren', translated: 'in your heart and kidneys'. It means that you are so devoted to something that it will be always there, stuck inside of you. Well, I felt that I am a true editor and realized again why I had started SEN Magazine. I want to show the infinite beauty and talent of mediterranean women. I will always be eager to get to know them better and spread their message when and where ever I can, which probably makes me also a true journalist: the urgent desire to report about people and their stories.
I am sure you will all love her. The interview tells about the person Nathalie, her background, her writing and her views about current issues. She is an interesting woman who really has something to say (which explains her numerous awards). And yes, she looks good on the cover of a magazine (and yes, in the end, I'll always be a magazine editor!)
Nathalie and I made a deal to have a drink together after the iftar; I promised that I would let her feel 'the energy of the city'(I warned her that The Hague isn't Paris, New York or Istanbul). But actually, it doesn't matter where we are, I am sure Nathalie and I will have a great time together: two cosmopolitan women from the Mediterranean discussing about all kinds of issues women face nowadays.
I'm looking forward to it and, of course, keep you posted! The interview with Nathalie Handal will be published in the October issue of INKT Magazine.
More information about Nathalie Handal is to be found on her website: http://www.nathaliehandal.com/