Bart Moeyart and the power of words
In one of the many rooms of the beautiful Casa del Mantegna just outside the centre of Mantua, a crowd of mainly children gathered to see the Belgian children's author, Bart Moeyaert in conversation with Pino Costalunga.
The event kicked off with Pino Costalunga giving some background on Moeyaert’s intriguing life as the youngest of seven brothers, before reading an extract from Moeyaert’s book The Milky Way Club, quickly engaging the audience, who listened intently. In this reading we learn of the diversity of children in families, something the author always noticed in his own family as a child, and which can be seen in his bestselling book Brothers.
A question that everyone always wants to ask an author is "why did you start writing?" and Moeyaert gave with two answers: the power of words, and that fact that life in books is much more interesting than real life. We can certainly see that the lives in Moeyart's books are always interesting, and, according to the author, the diversity in interpretations of stories by different minds is something that demonstrates the power of words.
This power of words was also visible when Pino Costalunga read part of Brothers. Moeyaert’s face lit up with smiles and laughter as he listened to his book be read in such an animated, enthusiastic way in Italian, a language so diverse from the book's original language.
As the interview ended, the author was asked by an audience member about when he first started writing books. Moeyaert recounted the story of being very ill as a young teenager, and being trapped at home with nothing to do. It was being in this unfortunate situation, mixed with having a typewriter at home, that ignited Moeyaert's desire to become an author, writing his first book on his sick bed. This book, about a young boy who became ill and struggled to get back to good health again would be the author’s debut novel, published when he was just 19.