August 24, 2022

Rapping, poetry, gambling and seduction in the museum

The new exhibition Back Street in the Museum of Literature is a literary adventure for Young Adults. Young people discover, experience and create stories in order to experience the power of literature.

Young people from the age 14 and older, immerse themselves in another world. They gamble on literary stories in the casino, meet contemporary writers in the Gym, learn to seduce with language in the Limousine or expose themselves in the Tattoo Shop game.


‘Literature makes you think. About yourself, others and the world around you. We also want to achieve that in Back Street, for example by having young people create their own spoken word act about current themes such as climate and gender,’ says director Aad Meinderts.


The opening will take place on Friday evening, September 16, during the free BoekTok Live festival, which is also the kick-off of the Boekenweek van Jongeren (Young People's Book Week).


10 Challenging Games 

Back Street leads the youngsters to ten different spaces via dark alleys. They end up in an escape room full of exciting stories in the Bunker, and are challenged to create their own song or rap track at the Bakfiets. In the Tattoo Shop, young people expose themselves by reacting to situations from Young Adult books with themes such as domestic violence, drugs, bullying and loneliness. A personal tattoo is shown on their arm based on their choices. The Gym revolves around having the confidence to be yourself. Young people come into contact with various writers via passages from books. ‘During the test period, we noticed that both the content and the design of the exhibition appeal to the imagination of the target group,’ says Meinderts.


Young Adult Books 

In the ten interactive games, recognizable themes are discussed for young people and they become acquainted with many types of texts: from biographies to spoken word and from poetry to graphic novels. Meinderts: ‘It goes without saying that diversity and inclusiveness were taken into account during the selection. We have worked with an extensive content team that includes spoken word artists, writers, poets, education specialists and, of course, young people, so that we are sure that every young person recognizes or is attracted to texts. The list is long and includes books by Khalid Boudou, Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, Jason Reynolds and Angie Thomas and poems by Gershwin Bonevacia and Elten Kiene.’


After visiting Back Street, everyone is emailed personal book tips based on their gaming experience at the exhibition.


Please note Backstreet is only available in Dutch.