Curator #156: Marga Demmers

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Hello! My name is Marga Demmers and I am born and bred in the Netherlands. My interest for Catalonia and its culture and language date back to the 1970s when I was living and working in Granada in the southern part of Spain, my rite of passage. There I began my Catalan studies at the university, a curious fact as at that time such studies were forbidden in Catalonia. After two years I returned to Holland and started studying Spanish and Catalan philology at Leiden University.

Although as a Spanish teacher I had very little spare time, I dedicated great part of it to perfecting my Catalan and promoting the knowledge of its language and literature in the Netherlands. In the 1980s I translated two collections of short stories by Carme Riera, which fortunately created an interest in Catalan literature among other publishing houses. A few years ago Zirimiri Press, a small publishing company, took up my challenge to bring out a bilingual (Dutch-Catalan) anthology of poetry by women poets titled Rebellie/Rebel·lió of which I was the editor and translator.

As a matter of course, over the years Catalonia was a frequent holiday destination. Inspired by those trips I started a blog in Dutch talking about places we visited, things we ate and natural sites we admired. During my curation of Catalan Voices I will share some of my secrets with you.

In the last nine years I have been working as a registered legal interpreter/translator Spanish-Catalan-Dutch. It was an exhilarating period, but when I reached the age of 65 I decided to retire and enjoy at leisure all the things that I had not been able to pursue due to my workload. Nevertheless I still work two days a week as a lexicographer updating the only legal dictionary Spanish-Dutch. A nice way to end my career.

So that gives me five days to dedicate to my hobbies and ongoing projects. And believe me, they keep me very busy. Studying Catalan philology (again) at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC), reading psychological novels, trying my hand at flash fiction, learning creative photography (I started my blog The Photographer Smiled…), meeting up with friends, writing letters and emails for Amnesty International, playing the clarinet, visiting (local) museums, going to the movies, hiking and cycling, delving into WWI, etc.

I am looking forward to being your curator this week in which I will talk about all the above subjects and more. Hopefully we can discuss some issues that I propose. For example, I want your opinion about a new blog that I want to publish but that presents me with an unexpected dilemma. I can’t wait to hear from you!

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