Literature, Narrativity and Psychiatry

On January 24th, 2018, a writer, psychiatrist and literature scholar discussed the importance of stories in our perception of health. This event was the first public dialogue of The New Utrecht School in 2018. 

Stories and disease

Human beings are storytellers. We continuously inform each other using stories - about ourselves, where we come from, how we feel, what we think it important. How does illness fit in those stories? What if you cannot tell your own story anymore? What if you can still tell a story, but the story is about a turn of events in your life that you cannot control - depression, trauma, or a psychiatric disease? 


DUB, the Utrecht University newspaper, was present during the dialogue and wrote this report (in Dutch).


  • Femke Schavemaker, author of Karkas, an autobiographically inspired novel about Nora, who is diagnosed with a bipolar disorder.
  • Prof. Floor Scheepers, professor Innovation in psychiatric healthcare, founder of the online psychiatric story-database Verhalenbank Psychiatrie.

  • Dr Gaston Franssen, researcher of literary culture and editor of the Nederlandse Letterkunde (Dutch literature) special issue on Language of Illness (‘De taal der ziekte: literaire perspectieven op geneeskunde en psychiatrie’).