on Saturday 17 April 2021
Vanita & Johanna Monk found each other in the cactus section of Amsterdam's Botanical Garden on New Year's Eve, 1988. It took them 18 years to research and write their first novel Vanita & Joe Monk's Antarctica. They have described it as "Not a work of art but a briefing report. How to commit the perfect murder, the perfect suicide. Peel off the two skins with their wounds and scars, their myths and habits. And create one new skin, one new living myth... Kill the relationship and be forever alone together, forever a freak. This story is the air we breathe, the food we eat, the story is us... Easier said than done, and haven't we already done it?"
Vanita Monk was born in 1944 in Hoge Veluwe National Park, the Netherlands, to the sound of the Battle of Arnhem (A Bridge Too Far) raging in the distance. She has worked since childhood as a visual artist (drawing, painting, performance art and poetry) and served a few youthful years of forced unskilled labor in factories, restaurants, courts of law, psychiatric institutions, normal families and other such sewers of the human condition.
Johanna Monk was born in 1967 in Montréal, Québec, Canada, to the flushing sound of better worlds drowned by the will of the people, a butterfly that awakens in the winter, two tongues at war inside one head, eyes wide open to drink up the night. He never thought of becoming an artist because he didn’t believe he had any story to tell. That was before he met Vanita. He has worked as a software engineer, radio DJ, translator and copy editor.
Readings by Vanita & Johanna Monk usually include live music performed by the authors and other sympathetic or unsuspecting musicians.
The authors are also active as visual artists, improvising musicians and writers of "music journalism and other such things of fiction". Upcoming publications include The Birth Cry of A New Flute, a collection of essays and interviews with some of the world's most well-known free jazz and improvising musicians.