Biography Frank Adam

Source: quality paper De Standaard

Frank Adam is one of the great literary talents of Flanders. He writes texts for theatre, radio and opera; publishes novels, absurd fables, poetry, song lyrics; and produces and plays theatre himself. He often undertakes an intense dialogue with the medium of music. His work is philosophically tinted, seriously absurd, and wittily moving. During the last years it has been awarded frequently.

Frank Adam is the author who has blown new life into the genre of fables for adults with his literary cycle Confidences to a Donkey’s Ear.

He published his absurd fables (or contes philosophiques) with illustrations by Klaas Verplancke in literary series in the Flemish quality papers De Standaard and De Morgen, collected them in several Books, put them several times on stage for Arts Centre De Werf in Bruges, and adapted them to radio plays for klara, the culture radio station of the vrt (Flemish public broadcasting company).

With his literary donkey he was writer in residence in the Villa Marguerite Yourcenar in France, the Ventspils Writers’ and Translators’ House in Letvia and the Amsterdam’s European Writer’s House in the Netherlands. On demand of the French Space Agency Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) he wrote the conte philosophique ‘Space, Being and Love’ and performed it in the Musée d’art moderne et comtemporain in Strasbourg, on the occasion of the French presidency of the European Union in 2008.

For the culture channel of vrt-radio klara Frank Adam wrote and played the radio plays What the Donkey saw, Erotic Fables. and Love Fables. For the children broadcast Ketnet he edited live the chain poem Zoek me (Seek me). As a narrator he was to be heard live on Klara in the radio play Pilgrims in Vienna.

As an author he delivered opera- music theatre- and song texts for the composers Johan De Smet, Jan Van Outryve, Wouter Vandenabeele and Joachim Brackx.

As a performer Frank Adam was on stage with Les Voix Erotiques de la Belgique and Orchestre Maboel conducted by Edwig Abrath; the Johnny Smet String Quartet conducted by Paul Klinck; actors Stefaan De Gand and Els Dottermans; cellists Lode Vercampt (Belgium) and Colette Lucidarme (France), pianoforte players Tom Beghin (Belgium) and Erin Helyard (Australia), and pianist Philippe Ochem, director Jazzdor Festival of Strasbourg (France).

His youth novel The passion of the adolescent was awarded with the Prize Best Youth Novel of the Year. Most of his theatre texts and his opera libretto Urt! have been awarded and many of his own stage performances have been reckoned to the best theatre productions of the year.

His monumental play Aleksej was directed by experienced director Koen De Sutter in the youth theatre hetpaleis (thepalace) with a big cast. The text, published by the quality paper De Standaard, was awarded the Literary Prize Drama of the province West-Flanders 2010 and was selected in the German theatre festival Kaas & Kappes for the Kaas & Kappes Stückepool 2011. The production was selected for the Flemish Theatre Festival 2011.

Frank Adam is artist in residence in Arts Centre De Werf Bruges. Work of Frank Adam has been translated into German, Norwegian, French, Letvian and Italian.


Biography Frank Adam, Arts Center De Werf Bruges 2008

Frank Adam writes plays, opera libretto’s as well as novels, poetry, fables and songlyrics. For adults, adolescents and children. He often adapts his books for theatre and performs them on stage himself.

Confidenties aan een ezelsoor, deel 1

Most of his theatre texts and his opera libretto ‘Urt!’ have been awarded and many of his own stage performances have been reckoned to the best theatre productions of the year.

With ‘Confidences to a Donkey’s Ear’ Adam has put new life into the genre of fables for adults.

Confidenties aan een ezelsoor, deel 1

What started as a series absurd fables for adults in the quality paper De Standaard in 2004 gradually became an immense artistic project with lots of branches.

2007 AD Confidences is a literary mark label, officially recognized by unanimous praising reviews and linked to the name of author-performer Frank Adam.

At present Adam publishes his absurd fables not only in quality newpapers (De Standaard and De Morgen), he also collects them in several Books, puts them on stage himself, and made a songcycle and cd entitled ‘Confidences!’

Spring 2007 his literary dokey surprised his spiritual father with a writer-in-residence invitation of the Villa Marguerite Yourcenar in France, where a jury selected Adam because of ‘the original, satirical and destructive humour of his absurd fables.

Another French invitation came from the Frech space agency ‘Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales’ and the literary organisator Les Lettres Européennes’.
In the context of het French chairmanship of the European Union 2008, they asked Adam to write a Confidence on the European Union and Space. Adam read his confidence at the European Parliament in Strasbourg the 22 Octobre 2008.

Spring 2009 Damme, the historic city of Adam’s tormented youth and the first Book Town in Flanders, organizes an exhibition ‘Confidences to a donkey’s ear, The absurd fables of Frank Adam’, which will afterwards go on a tour along Flemish libraries.

It will show the history of Adams fables by means of documentary items made by the national tv channels vrt and Ketnet, audio-fragments from Adam’s radio play ‘What the donkey saw’ (his price winning christmas tale) broadcast by the vrt-cultural radio channel Klara, Donkey Aphorisms, ‘Donkey Songs’ and illustrations by Klaas Verplancke.

More information and reviews about Frank Adam’s work on his website


‘A contemporary Candide’ (De Standaard der Letteren)

‘Hilarious, brilliant tales.
Frank Adam is a marvellous narrator’ (Radio 1)

‘Fifteen wisdomparables who seem to have run off
from the Book of One Thousand and One Nights’ (Knack)

‘Existential, scabrous, melancholy and perfectly balanced.
Full of humour and tristesse
Frank Adam is a borne performer’ (De Morgen)

‘Impressive, entertaining, humurous, and painful tales of all times,
with typical comtemporary ingredients’ (De Leeswolf)

‘A sensual celebration of the erotic imagination’ (De Standaard der letteren)

‘A flemish Thousand-and-One Night’ (Exit Magazine)

‘Unique contes philosophiques in the tradition of Voltaire ànd a mirror of modern time. (Greek philosopher Lambros Couloubritsis)

‘ A formula as strong as iron. A golden egg’ (vrt-culture radio Klara)

‘An Apuleius-like book’ (Volkskrant Comic Art-specialist Joost Pollmann)

‘In many meanings of the word: a many-couloured series’ (De Standaard)

‘The Confidences are perfectly balanced: substantial themes; razor-sharp language, razorsharp reasoning, and uninhibitedly cynical conclusions. Frank Adam is a master in the short-distance discipline. (Biblion)

‘During recent years Frank Adam has justly met with an exponential increase of his succes: this man is able to talk about the condition humaine in a funny, intelligent and relativating way, without lapsing into far too moral moralities or melodramas. These unique confession stories are an irresistible and masterly omnium gatherum of music and text, of daring humour wíth a critical note. (Zone 03)

Not only his stage adaption of his popular absurd Christmas tale ‘What the donkey saw’ was a huge succes (‘Even more wacko than the humour of Monty Python’ De Morgen), his radio play-adaption for the vrt-cultural radio Channel Klara, was selected by ‘Grenzeloos Geluid’, the festival for innovating revolutionary radio making in Amsterdam.

His adolescence novel ‘The Passion of the Adolescence, the Double Life and Sufferings of Young Josh’ was awarded Best Adolescence Novel Price 2006, and is being translated into Norvegian and German.

Frank Adam - De Passie van de puber

‘A book with an entirely original tone: sharp, witty satirical and written with great speed’ (Jury Best Adolescence Novel Price 2006)

‘A wacko book that has enriched youth literature with a nice anti-hero.’ (Standaard der letteren) from ‘a youth author with a new sound’. (De Morgen)

‘Josh’s story can compete with ‘The secret diary of Adrian Mole 13 ¾’ but it has a contemporary and original accent. (K + L)

Adam’s Stage Adaption of this book ‘The Boy that Fell out of his Body’ was awarded a theatre price too.

Adam’s poetry for children is popular, not only because he was appointed Ketnet-Poet on the childrens vrt-tv channel Ketnet a few years ago, but also because of his stage performance for kids ‘My mouth likes eating spinage, but I don’t’, which was described by critics as ‘a completely new way of dealing with poetry’ (Klara).