Nisti Stêrk is the compere of the award ceremony. Photo: Agent & Management Group

Comedy, gravity and love in the spirit of Bart Moeyaert

Hello Nisti Stêrk, master of ceremonies for the ALMA award ceremony!

Describe yourself in three words:
–Happy, goal-oriented, responsible.

How does it feel to be leading the award ceremony? What was your reaction to being asked?
–I love my work as an emcee and television host, and I have done a lot of gala events and TV shows. The ALMA award ceremony has been on my wish list for a long time! When I got the tap, I called up my partner and imitated Ronia the Robber’s Daughter: “Cover your ears, here comes my call of spring! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!”

What should guests be looking forward to from the ceremony?
–Comedy, gravity, and love, in the spirit of the ALMA laureate.

What is your impression of this year’s laureate, Bart Moeyaert?
–I love the way Bart Moeyaert makes us, as readers, think and come up with answers on our own. Just like Astrid Lindgren, he knows how to make us laugh and how to move us without teaching a lesson or pointing a moral. I also like how he encourages people to get off social media and read more. He’s a brave person who dares to say what he thinks. Recently teachers in Belgium got upset when he criticized the way technology has taken over the classroom. He said too few children were reading books. I have to agree. Books give us something that a tablet never can.

Name one book that was important to you growing up and tell us why.
 –Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter was one of my favorites. I identified with the community of robbers, the dancing and singing, and how much Ronia’s father loved her. It reminded me of my relationship with my grandfather on my father’s side. I lived with him and my aunts and uncles in Kurdistan when I was little. Grandfather was a popular and much-loved man. Whenever we had visitors he would say, “Nisti, come and do a little dance for us. Come and sing with us.” Ronia and the robbers had Noddle-Pete, but we had great-grandma Sakine, who suffered from constipation. Grandfather would say, “Nisti, come imitate your great-grandmother!” I would do my best impression by crouching down, pretending to strain, and puffing out my cheeks until my face turned red. Then I would say, “Plop! Ahh…much better.” It made everyone in our village double over with laughter.