Anne Hull’s extraordinary stories about those living at the fringes of American society have led to five nominations and a Pulitzer Prize. She is currently on a sabbatical from her newspaper, the Washington Post, to work on her memoire about growing up in Florida. To write her stories, she often stays with a group for months –the soldiers in rehabilitation at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, or a teenage girl who wants to leave her life of poverty behind. But tonight she will tell us about a very small story. A story she wrote in six hours, in which she followed a grandmother and her grandson, two victims of Hurricane Katrina. This story is rich in detail, has a subtle dramatic arc, and summarizes the drama of Hurricane Katrina in just 900 words, making it palpable. What was her process? Which tools did she use? For years, she gathered experience in larger narrative projects, but how did she use
that knowledge to tell this story for maximum effect?
The yearly Gerard van Westerloo Lecture pays homage to one of the founding fathers of narrative journalism in the Netherlands. Gerard van Westerloo applied four principles to his reporting: he chose everyday subjects, particularly when nothing out of the ordinary was happening; he waited as long as he needed to get a complete picture; he chose to speak to the subjects themselves (no spokespeople!); and those he interviewed got no coverage elsewhere.
2 November, 8 p.m. (doors open at 7.30 p.m.)
Pakhuis de Zwijger, Amsterdam
Tickets: €17,50 (regular) / €12,50 (Friends of the Initiative Narrative Journalism Netherlands and full time students – on presentation of a student card)