The Woman With The Red Pen

Stephanie Dijkstra has been Editor-in-Chief of The XPat Journal since its inception 20 years ago. During a FaceTime interview, Diane Lemieux set out to uncover the vision of the woman who has set the tone and shaped the unique quality of the Netherlands’ foremost English-language magazine.

Stephanie tells me that living in Chile as a 10 to 14-year-old made her aware of the huge disparities that exist in the world. Every day, her shiny yellow school bus (though in reality not so shiny because it had holes in it) would pass through a poor village on the way to and from her nice home and private school. The awareness of her privilege made her very uncomfortable. “I’m always trying to find the story behind the story or the country; the story behind the expat rather than just the shiny, glimmering surface life of being an expat. It’s the struggle that people go through to get where they are, and what they make of their lives, and what they overcome to get there: that’s what I like to tell.”

And just as she keeps the voices of each writer in the articles she edits, she is careful to reflect the voice of her interviewees. “I’m so afraid that every interview is going to sound like me describing somebody else that I really try to make every article sound different by using their way of expressing themselves.”

Diane Lemieux
2018 Autumn

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