Two years after his death, Dirk Bracke’s last book was presented this week in Stekene, where the youth author lived and worked most of his life. The library was packed for the book presentation.
The library was far too small to seat everyone for the official performance on Tuesday evening Chicagothe book that the late Dirk Bracke wrote in the last months before his death, but which is only now being brought onto the market by the Standaard publishing house.
“Bracke wrote the book in the summer of 2020, just as he received his diagnosis. As a result, the manuscript was left behind and we did not edit it at the time. There was a chance that he would still recover, but unfortunately that did not happen. Now, in consultation with his family, we have decided to publish it after all,” says Evi Van Overveld of the publisher. ” Chicago is indeed an authentic book by Bracke. He wrote it all himself, with a fountain pen on paper. It is his very last book, we no longer have any other texts by him. His family is proud that it has been published. He has put a lot of time into it.” (Read more below the photo)
Son Roeland, friend and director Stefan Van Guyse and fellow author and friend Rob Baetens, among others, read excerpts from the work of Bracke, the children’s author known for his books about difficult social themes such as AIDS, autism, incest and gang violence. Titles like The hour zero, The angel house, An empty bridge, Black and Back have been devoured by entire generations of teenagers and young people. Several of his works have also been made into films.
In Chicago he tells the story of Rowan, a girl from Afghanistan who fled to Antwerp with her mother and sister after an acid attack on her friend Zohal. There she lives in a block on the Left Bank called ‘Chicago’. She often hangs out with friends in a local park where they spend their days with alcohol, drugs, extortion and theft. Until one day she sees the man who mutilated Zohal.
“The book is based on true facts,” Evi says. “He knew the girl personally, but made some adjustments to ensure her anonymity.”
Chicago has 183 pages and can be purchased in bookstores or via Standaardboekhandel.be