Bart Van Loo writes and talks about France like no-one else
Born in the Campine region of Northern Belgium, he moved to West Flanders, just a stone's throw from the country to which he has pledged his heart and his entire career – France. With both his pen and his voice, Bart Van Loo's work makes his audience gape with open mouth.
Literature is and remains Bart Van Loo's (b. 1973) first love. The focal point in each of his works is France, an inexhaustible source from which stories about history, literature, music, gastronomy, art, travel, sexology, acts as the focal point each time well up. With a masterful hand, he strings together the most diverse cultural manifestations of our southern neighbours to create what have now become a dozen peerless books.
Bart Van Loo's bibliography in a nutshell
Parijs Retour (2006), a literary travel guide, in which he steps into the settings of the very greatest 19th-century French authors, launched his career. Besides Paris, he roams around Picardy, Normandy, Provence and the Côte d'Azur ... Always wanted to know where mythical dishes such as vol-au-vents, peach melba, tripes à la mode de Caen, bouillabaisse and cassoulet come from? Bart's book entitled Als kok in Frankrijk (2008) provides the answers in a style that can only make you lick your fingers. In O vermiljoenen spleet! (2010), we read how François Rabelais, the Marquis de Sade, Gustave Flaubert, Anaïs Nin, Richard Millet and Michel Houellebecq in particular unhesitatingly sang the praises of voluptuous physicality in erotic texts, often breaking the rules of censorship in the process. An intimate history of pornography. Never thought that a Frenchwoman could be seduced through the works of the Flemish writer Willem Elsschot? In Elsschot, Antwerpen en Coraline (2010), you can read how that can be done! In Chanson (2011), Bart Van Loo paints an original and entertaining alternative history of France, based on world-famous and forgotten French songs. Jacques Brel, Serge Gainsbourg, Charles Aznavour, Edith Piaf, Barbara and so many others form the starting point of a wondrous tale, with its accompanying double CD! Have you ever wondered why kilometres are shorter in France than in other countries or what influence Dutch has on French skills of seduction? These and 78 more amusing questions make up the colourful Bleu, Blanc, Rouge (2012), a light-hearted book especially for budding France lovers. Another work that comes with its own CD! Napoleon, the Shadow of the Revolution (2014) reveals the man behind the myth. Not just another book amongst many about this fascinating figure in world history. De Bourgondiërs, aartsvaders van de Lage Landen (The Burgundians: A Vanished Empire, 2019) traces the roots of the unification of the Low Countries in the 15th century. Both the national and foreign press were unanimous in praising this tome, Bart's latest masterpiece, which has also been translated into French, English, German, Italian, Polish, Korean and Chinese.
Also a stage virtuoso
This Francophile not only shines in the literary field, but he also shows himself to be an accomplished and engaging speaker in lectures, readings, mini-lectures, storytelling tours, theatre shows and performances for radio and television. With a mix of enthusiasm, humour, erudition, poignancy and suspense, he lets us share in his enjoyment of his fantastic stories, anecdotes and wise insights.
This makes him one of those rare, multi-talented people to read, listen to and watch.
© Foto :Stefan Vanfleteren