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SPOTTED: Creative Writing lecturer Martin Rombouts on the randomness of success

  • Creative Writing

Martin Rombouts is a lecturer at the bachelor's course Creative Writing in Arnhem. For years, he has been on stage with theatre shows and his boy band. Recently, he won De slimste mens. On television, that is. Three million people watched Martin win. And now? Now Martin tells Volkskrant Magazine all about what not everyone knew about him yet, and about the randomness of success.

Photo: Aisha Zeijpveld
Photo: Aisha Zeijpveld

Not everyone knew this about Martin yet: before the Slimste-mens craze, he wrote prose and poetry (literary magazines such as Tirade and De Revisor published work by him), made theatre and toured with the four other members of BOYBAND, the literary boy band, who are releasing their debut album this year.

BOYBAND: literature to squeal through

In 2019, Martin and his bandmates performed at Lowlands in the Sexyland area. BOYBAND consists of five men: poets, writers musicians and illustrators. The literary boyband scrambles dance moves, hip movements and sung and spoken lyrics about the lives of thirty-somethings into an irresistible and very funny cocktail. 'Literature to squeal through', they say themselves.

Personal work

Prior to the interview with the Volkskrant, Martin sent a piece from his own work that is really about himself. A personal piece, namely about his mother, who got cancer, which Martin could see no justification in. "The great danger is that we think we have accomplished something because we are asked for that stage, but it is ultimately randomness. The whole universe is randomness." Martin chose an essay in which he allows himself to be transported blindfolded to "a space that could still be anywhere" to write - after all, she is also everywhere, perhaps. He writes about clearing out her house. 

Creative Writing

Martin teaches at Creative Writing, a bachelor's course where, with the help of renowned writers, poets and professionals from the literary world, you can develop yourself into a full-fledged writer and creator.