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10 Books from Holland London Bookfair Issue ederlands N letterenfonds dutch foundation for literature Spring 20162 Books from Holland Frequently Asked Questions 10 Books from Holland? Who decides the contents? Do you subsidise production costs? Our editors. We want to showcase the best contemporary This is possible in the case of editions of poetry, illustrated fiction from the Netherlands for our audience of literary publish- children’s books or graphic novels. For regular fiction and ers. In addition, there is always one classic, one graphic novel non-fiction, we support translation costs only. and one thriller. Most titles have been published recently and have enjoyed good sales, excellent reviews and one or more We would like to invite a Dutch author for a promotional visit. literary awards or nominations. Though sometimes one of these If you organise a good programme and offer the author factors is enough. Equally important is the question: ‘Does it accommodation, we can cover the travel costs. travel?’ Our advisors talk to publishers from all over the world and while it is impossible to say with certainty which novels will I’ve heard so much about the Amsterdam Fellowship. travel where, we have the expertise to make an educated guess. Every September, we organise a fellowship (4 days) for publish- ers and editors. We do not have an application procedure, but At book fairs, do you talk about these books exclusively? you can always send us an e-mail stating your interest. While we like to discuss our catalogue, there are always other titles: books that have just appeared or are about to come out or Individual Publisher’s Visits books that just missed our selection. Our advisors read as much We host 8 to 10 publishers and editors per year on an individual fiction as they can. basis. Usually, these are great if you already have one or more Dutch authors on your list and would like to see them, combined Do you work together with Dutch publishers and agents? with a schedule of meetings. We keep each other informed about interest in titles and rights sales. When we commission a sample translation, we usually What’s Schwob? share the costs. However, we always make our own decisions, Schwob.nl is a European network for forgotten or undiscovered and remain completely independent. books, established and maintained by translators, publishers and editors, researchers, readers and critics. How many books by one author will you support? We can support one author with three books. If the author has Can I subscribe to Books from Holland? changed publishing houses, previous titles are not counted. Please leave your card at our stand, or send a message. All our past issues are available at www.letterenfonds.nl. Are all books in your brochure eligible for a grant? Yes they are, with a maximum subsidy of 100% of the translation Advisors Fiction costs for classics and 70% for contemporary prose, based on the actual fee paid by the publisher. Are books that aren’t included in your brochure eligible? As long as it’s a good literary title, it probably is. We make our decisions based on three criteria: literary quality of the book, status of the publishing house and quality of the translator. You can always ask in advance if a book is eligible or not. Barbara den Ouden Victor Schiferli Eastern and Middle Europe, Scandinavia, German and Mediterranean countries, English-language countries. Can you help us find a translator? Russia. Graphic novels. v.schiferliletterenfonds.nl Lists of experienced translators are provided by e-mail. b.den.oudenletterenfonds.nl We want to work with somebody who is not on your list. Then we require a sample translation of 20 pages and the translator’s CV. If the translation is good, the translator will be added to our list. If the translation needs repair, we can make suggestions. If the translation is beyond repair, you are advised to hire somebody who is on our list. Reintje Gianotten Tiziano Perez How do we apply for a translation subsidy? Germany. Brazil, China, Japan. We need contracts with the rights holders and the translator, r.gianottenletterenfonds.nl t.perezletterenfonds.nl plus the application form. You can submit digitally from our website: http://www.letterenfonds.nl/en/translation-subsidy. Thomas Möhlmann: Arabic countries, t.moehlmannletterenfonds.nl Meetings are held six times a year, the dates are announced Alexandra Koch: Schwob, a.kochletterenfonds.nl on our website. 3 Books from Holland Esther Gerritsen Brother A tragicomic novella about a woman who doesn’t know what to do about her amputee brother—or about herself, for that matter Esther Gerritsen is known for leavening decides to have the inconsolable Marcus Publishing details Broer (2016) her psychological dramas with wit and come live with them while he recuperates. 94 pp. 22,000 words realistic dialogue. Brother is vintage But her brother’s arrival turns Olivia’s 655,235 copies Gerritsen, a short, accessible, gripping placid little life upside down. Her sons novella, ending on a positive note. It was have a great time with their uncle Marcus, Publisher the 2016 Dutch Book Week Gift selection and are sorry their mother never joins in De Geus Ad van den Kieboom with a printing of close to 650,000 copies. the fun. Her husband suddenly announces a.v.d.kieboomdegeus.nl their marriage is in trouble, and her www.degeus.nl “Her brother rang her just before his leg company appears to be unsalvageable. was to be amputated. She had not spoken After meeting Marcus, the company Rights with him for a year.” The phone call from founder, Mr Kyvon, thinks Marcus can be 2Seas Agency Marleen Seegers her brother Marcus knocks the emotion- a big help in putting the loss of the firm Marleen.seegers2seasagency.com ally repressed career woman Olivia for a into perspective. loop. Even though she blames her brother Her brother’s leg may have been cut off, Translated Titles for having done such a poor job of manag- but it’s Olivia who feels cut off from both Dorst. Translated into English as ing his diabetes, the news causes her to her family and her work. It begins to dawn Craving (World Editions, 2015). Also in Czech (Argo, 2014), German bolt from an important shareholders on her that everyone else seems to get (Berlin Verlag, 2014), Icelandic meeting. along with her brother except her. As the (Forlagid), Spanish (Eduvim, 2015). Olivia leads a tightly-controlled life, and story ends, watching her husband and Roxy. Translated into English (World as financial director of Kyvon Serviezen, sons fishing alongside Marcus and Mr Editions, 2016), rights sold to she is trying to keep the company from Kyvon, she realizes she’s watching a great Panamericana (Colombia). bankruptcy. She has two sons with her happiness, one that does not include her. husband Gerard, who shares her “dislike Fortunately, all she has to do is walk over of sentimentality and complaining. Too and join them. much fretting was best cured with a game Brother is a masterful story about the of tennis. She often played tennis.” She power of family ties, loss, and letting go. ‘The amputation-story genre has gained a fine new example.’ – NRC Lively, amusing, and riveting— a typical “Gerritsen”, with a great many scintillating sentences and sharp observations.’ – Trouw On Roxy: ‘Once again Esther Since her 2000 debut with Bevoorrecht Gerritsen displays her bewustzijn (Privileged Consciousness), Esther gift for striking sentences Gerritsen (b. 1972) has been considered one of and dialogue that teeters the best authors in the Netherlands. In 2005 she on a thin line between was awarded the Dif/BGN prize for her second novel Normale dagen (Ordinary Days, 2005). normalcy and alienation, Superduif (Superpigeon, 2010), Dorst (Craving, between entertaining 2012), and Roxy (2014) were all shortlisted for the kookiness and harrowing Libris Literature Prize. In 2014 she was awarded absurdity.’ – de Volkskrant the Frans Kellendonk prize for her body of work. Gerritsen is a leading playwright and writes a popular weekly column in the VPRO TV guide. Photo: Keke Keukelaar4 Books from Holland H.M. van den Brink Dijk A masterly, wistful tale about two men and a dying profession Who decides what’s a metre? How do odd duck? The author skilfully peels Publishing details Dijk (2016) you establish what a ‘kilo’ really means? away the classic assumptions about the 188 pp. 47,000 words How do you prevent people from cheating secrets people carry, which also gives him 10,000 copies sold in science, industry or business? Dijk a chance to bring up the past. What was Sample translation available brings back to life the vanishing world of life like in the years before the digital measuring instruments and standards. revolution? What did people talk about? Publisher Atlas Contact What concerns Van den Brink is not that The impending changes to the civil Hayo Deinum the world has changed, but how it has servant’s way of life prompt fear and h.deinumatlascontact.nl changed. despair, as does the agency’s privatization, www.atlascontact.nl with its attendant horrors and uncertain- Two men, Karl Dijk and the narrator, have ties, as set against the reliability of meas- Translated Titles On The Water (Over het water). worked for many years at what used to urement standards, which brook no Faber and Faber, 2001. Also be called the Department of Weights guesswork. Measurements are dependable published in Germany (Hanser), and Measures, but now goes by the name and true; man cheats and chisels. Van den France (Gallimard), Denmark Metrifact. Dijk, a man of few words, tends Brink succeeds in weaving this theme (Rosinante), Italy (Marsilio), Korea to keep to himself. The narrator is asked throughout the novel at every level without (Sakyejul), Norway (Solum), Spain (Alianza). to give a speech at a farewell reception for giving too much away. Coeur de verre (Hart van glas). his enigmatic colleague, but Dijk fails to The narrator’s increasing bewilderment Gallimard, 2002. Also published in show up at his own party. Bit by bit, as over how little he really knows about his Italy (Marsilio). Dijk starts to haung the narrator’s dreams, colleague deepens the book’s poignancy. the reasons for his disappearance come Still, we do come away with a picture of Rights Sold Germany (Hanser), France to light. that strange character Karl Dijk in the end, (Gallimard), In this evocative novel Van den Brink and catch some glimpses of his dark past. Israel (Sifriat Poalim) delves deeply into the history of the world What concerns Van den Brink is not that of weights and measures and its revolu- the world has changed, but how that world Sample translation available tionary upheavals. It is also the story of has changed. Because we ourselves have two men who have kept each other at lost our yardsticks and our standards. arm’s length. Who was that stiff-necked ‘Dijk is a meditation on the integrity of measurements, the truth of numbers in taking the measure of man. Van den Brink also sketches a portrait of a vanished Netherlands, with its corner shops, butchers and greengrocers. His language is a model of Dutch precision: as staccato as the ticking of the clock.’ – de Volkskrant H.M. van den Brink (b. 1956) is a writer of both ‘H.M. van den Brink gives us fiction and non-fiction. His novel Over het water a perceptive picture of a world (On the Water) brought him fame at home and that once provided a firm abroad; the book was translated into fourteen languages and was the winner of the Euregion foothold and where today Prize, having also been nominated for the Prix things just seem to float, Femina, the Prix Médicis, the Independent unmoored.’ Foreign Fiction Prize, the Libris Literature Prize – NRC Handelsblad and the General Bank Literature Prize. After a seventeen-year wait, 2016 has now seen the publication of Van den Brink’s next novel, Dijk. Photo: Annaleen Louwes5 Books from Holland Mensje van Keulen Queen of Spades A new, gripping masterpiece from an award-winning writer Mensje van Keulen was lauded at the 2015 turning up the Queen of Spades. Paula Publishing details Schoppenvrouw (2016) Constantijn Huygens award ceremony had been introduced to Adami by her 136 pp. 25,821 words for the extraordinary technical mastery classmate, the androgynous, unsociable 5,000 copies sold she exhibits in her work: “Every story is Charlie, and her manipulative brother, composed with precision and sensitivity; who managed to involve Paula in their Publisher on the surface it may seem quite normal morbid experiments and sexual fantasies, Atlas Contact Hayo Deinum and everyday, but her quirky imagination only to gang up on her in the end and play hdeinumatlascontact.nl always gives it an unexpected twist.” a crushing trick on her that would haunt www.atlascontact.nl Her latest novel is no exception. Paula for the rest of her life. Mensje van Keulen deftly pulls the Translated titles The approaching disaster is palpable in the reader into Paula’s life, marked by betray- Die rote Schlinge (De rode strik). Droemer Knaur, 2001. very first sentence: “It was supposed to be als and humiliations behind a façade of Die Glückliche (De gelukkige). one of those eminently forgettable nights I respectability. Can her daughter really be Arche, 2003. would have no memory of by the next day.” that evil and ruthless? Are her husband’s Posljednji gosti (De laatste gasten). But that night, on TV in the home of property deals truly on the up and up? And Andrijic i (Croatia), 2008.  Amsterdam gallery owner Paula and her isn’t Paula, who is hiding a secret of her husband Oscar, a well-respected notary, own, at least as unreliable as they are? It the Crime Stoppers programme shows the appears that in the end Paula will not be aftermath of an assault on an old couple, able to escape the Queen of Spades’ curse. the elderly husband left for dead. From the As in the rest of her oeuvre, Van Keulen police profile and the way the suspect was reveals herself in this book to be a master dressed, Paula immediately realizes it’s of concision. In only 136 pages, replete her own daughter, Emmy. with sharp, often amusing observations The discovery that her well-brought-up and deliberately composed sentences, she daughter has committed a crime takes her takes merciless aim at her protagonist’s back to a dark period in her youth and a weaknesses. Once again, Queen of Spades prediction by a mysterious healer and tarot makes clear how much impact a few card reader, Doctor Adami, which now carefully chosen words can have when appears to have come true: “Never have they flow from the pen of a stylistic ‘A stunning novel, with an children, it could turn out extremely badly virtuoso like van Keulen. unexpected trump card for you…” — a prophecy he confirmed by Van Keulen triumphantly pulls out of her sleeve at the very last moment.’ – de Volkskrant ‘Mensje van Keulen plays a cat-and-mouse game with the reader in a short but For many years Mensje van Keulen (b. 1946) has exceptionally rich novel.’ been steadily adding to a body of work that stands – Vrij Nederland solid as a rock in the pantheon of Dutch literature. Over the past four decades, starting with her astonishing 1972 debut, Bleekers zomer ‘The author keeps peeling (Bleeker’s Summer), now considered a modern back the narrator’s outer Dutch classic, she has published more than 25 layers until we get a picture titles, including story and poetry collections, of the desperate teenager novels and children’s books. Critics have raved from the start about the deceptive simplicity of her huddled behind the stories, and the delicate grace of her style. She apparently devastated and has been nominated for many literary prizes, and genuinely alarmed mother.’ has won a number of them. In 2011 she was – Trouw awarded the Charlotte Köhler Oeuvre Prize, and in 2014 the Constantijn Huygens Prize for her complete body of work Photo: Annaleen Louwes6 Books from Holland Rodaan al Galidi How I Found a Talent for Living A funny, inspiring novel about life and waiting in a centre for asylum seekers Samir Karim flees Iraq in order to avoid just one Kafkaesque example, one of the Publishing details Hoe ik talent voor het leven kreeg conscription into Saddam Hussein’s army. asylum seekers receives a residence permit (2016) After a seven-year detour wandering several years after committing suicide. 472 pp. 130,000 words throughout Asia and Europe, he arrives in Samir has trouble sleeping, and grows 20,000 copies sold the Netherlands in 1998. For nine years he depressed when he is refused an exit visa to is interned in a centre for asylum seekers, bid farewell to his dying father in Jordan. Publisher Uitgeverij Jurgen Maas three men to a room. Finally, in 2007, In the face of such grim circumstances, he Jurgen Maas when the Dutch government issues a tries to keep up hope and hold onto his infouitgeverijjurgenmaas.nl General Pardon to asylum seekers who humanity. He turns down a relatively www.jurgenmaas.nl arrived in the country before 2001, he is well-paid job— falsifying the expiry dates granted a permit to stay. on baby formula. The dilemma of the Translated titles Thirsty River translated into English desire for survival set against one’s moral (Aflame Books). The reason Samir’s application for asylum compass brings to mind George Orwell’s De Autist and the Carrier Pigeon is delayed for so long is that at his first Down and Out in Paris and London; Samir’s translated into Bulgarian (Balkani), hearing he was unclear about the exact attempts to make the best of his protracted Italian (Il Sirente), Lithuanian date he had crossed the border. On being detention has much in common with the (Gelmés) and Serbian (Zavet) denied, he receives a letter ordering him plight of the stateless Tom Hanks in Steven to leave the country within 28 days. That Spielberg’s film The Terminal. letter is the first of many. In the interim he In the foreword Al Galidi explains that teaches himself Dutch from books he takes the narrator is not himself: “That way I out of the library, becomes an interpreter could be the writer without having to be for fellow asylum seekers, and has an the hero.” Then he tackles the question exhausting date with a Dutch fish vendor. of whether the book is true or not: “To He tries to get along with the other 500 someone who just can’t believe it’s true, people in the asylum centre, a motley crew, this book is fiction, but it is non-fiction some of whom are described here at some to anyone who keeps an open mind.” length and with considerable compassion. Written in a direct, less florid style than He is more critical, although not bitter, Al Galidi’s previous books, How I Found of the Dutch bureaucrats at the asylum a Talent for Living sets the playfulness of centre, Social Services, and the Immigra- literature against the dour starkness of ‘A tragic story at times, tion and Naturalization Service. The official rules and regulations. Al Galidi about asylum seekers pining system and the bureaucratic rules are masterfully elevates waiting to a true art away or committing suicide, sometimes taken to the absurd. To take in this very relevant book for these times. but more importantly an energetic, true-to-life tale of survivors, of people who walk to the post box every day to see if there’s a letter from Immigration and Rodaan Al Galidi is a poet and writer. Born in Naturalization for them … Iraq, trained as an architectural engineer, he has Should be essential reading lived in the Netherlands since 1998. Since as an undocumented asylum seeker he did not have for the Dutch, so that they the right to attend language classes, he taught may familiarize themselves himself to read and write Dutch. Al Galidi already with the new multicultural has five novels and seven books of poetry in society.’ – Trouw Dutch under his belt, and has been nominated for a number of prizes. His novel The Autist and the Carrier Pigeon (2009) was crowned with the Book-of-the-month at prestigious European Union’s Literature Prize De Wereld Draait door, in 2011, the same year he failed his citizenship TV show with 1,6 million course. 2016 has seen the publication of his viewers well-received poetry collection Refrigerator Light and this, his sixth novel, How I Found a Talent for Living. Photo: Writers Unlimited / Serge Ligtenberg7 Books from Holland Pia de Jong Charlotte A mother’s very personal story about the spontaneous recovery of her dying child When Pia de Jong’s third child, Charlotte, or the young prostitute who brings them Publishing details Charlotte (2016) is born, the obstetrician points at a spot hand-knitted baby clothes and lights 239 pp. 59,337 words on her little back: “She presses down on candles for Charlotte’s recovery. De Jong 10,000 copies sold it with her forefinger. As soon as she feels an affinity with these people, who takes her finger away, the spot turns blue. have stopped caring about social norms, Publisher The colour of a lake in a forest at noon.” as has she: “If I’m going to help Charlotte, Prometheus Ronit Palache Many other black and blue marks appear; I must keep out everything else. I don’t r.palachepbo.nl they are tumours. Charlotte has a rare have to be polite any more, or do anything www.pbo.nl form of leukaemia. Her parents decide I don’t want to do simply to keep up not to expose her to a treatment that can appearances. It’s only about her, about Translated title only be harmful and is probably pointless. us. The rest doesn’t matter”. Lange dagen (Long Days). Translated into Italian (Elliot) The family takes heart from learning Her husband, a professor of mathematical that a little American boy, Samuel, who physics, spends his nights researching had the same disease as Charlotte, wound black holes; De Jong quits her career to up recovering spontaneously. Slowly but be a fulltime mother. They try to prepare surely Charlotte’s bruises too start to themselves for the worst. One heartrend- disappear, and one fine day she is declared ing scene has her looking for a grave site. cured. De Jong wonders, “What shall I do Their house becomes a fortress where now that this ordeal is over?” Not long unwanted visitors are kept as far as afterwards she picks up her pen and starts possible at bay, although every once in to write. ‘If there’s anything that’s a while some busybody or faith healer Besides being written in a restrained, outstanding about Charlotte, slips through to disturb the peace. muted style, which makes this account of it’s the description of a life The family receives support from local illness all the more poignant, Charlotte is whittled down to the very residents who at first blush would seem also about the maternal instinct, grief and basics: survival. Visitors are worlds apart from the academic couple; hope. It is the chastening experience of turned away, the house is a like working-class Louis, who takes on the a mother who had to return to the basic mess. They sing, tell stories, role of neighbourhood watchman, or their thing at the very heart of life: love. keep death at arm’s length. down-on-his-luck neighbour Mackie, De Jong drags the reader into her little world, making its painful mix of love and fear sharply palpable. Charlotte is to be fiercely loved until the inevitable happens.’ – de Volkskrant ‘De Jong does not beat about the bush … yet she elevates this personal story to a level surpassing the individual, as only great literature can. It makes the personal general, so that the reader feels it is Pia de Jong (b. 1961) made her literary debut in also about him or herself. … 2008 with de novel Lange dagen (Long Days), A trailblazer of a book if for which she received the Gouden Uil Readers’ Prize, followed in 2010 by Dieptevrees (Fear of what literature is about is the Deep). She writes a column about her life in linking the particular with Princeton, NJ, where she has lived since 2012 the universal.’ for the Dutch newspaper NRC, as well as in the – Dagblad de Limburger memoir Flessenpost (Message in a Bottle). She is married to Robbert Dijkgraaf, a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Photo: David A. Carter8 Books from Holland A.F.Th. van der Heijden The Morning Gift An exciting historical spy novel and dramatic love story rolled into one What happens to someone caught in because he is the only one able to read and Publishing details De ochtendgave (2015) the diplomatic push-and-pull of great translate the messages from a spy whose 256 pp. 59,000 words powers jostling for territory and riches? handwriting he suspects to be his wife’s. 25,000 copies sold That is the tense world in which Caspar The game must be played with great Sonmans, the hero of A.F.Th. van der finesse, and Caspar has to put up with a Publisher Heijden’s very first historical novel, number of unnerving frustrations, since De Bezige Bij Marijke Nagtegaal finds himself fatally embroiled. he not only has Sara’s disappearance to m.nagtegaaldebezigebij.nl deal with, but also the care of a foundling Uta Matten In 1705, as the conflict between two left at his door with a note pinned to its u.mattendebezigebij.nl warring factions draws to a close, the swaddling cloths. He raises the boy, www.debezigebij.nl narrator witnesses the beheading of a named Putto, as his son, although he Translated titles former mayor of his city, and recalls the suspects his French adversary, the Mar- Please see most harrowing day of his life, in August quis Caloyanni, is the child’s real father. www.vertalingendatabase.nl of 1678, which “was the end of his life, When the Peace of Nijmegen is signed, though not his existence”. On that day the he is finally reunited with his love—only Rights sold love of his life, Sara Stermont, was shot to lose her again almost immediately. Germany (Suhrkamp) dead just as the two of them were finally Besides this moving love story, The reunited. Some years earlier, on the Morning Gift gives a splendid account of morning after his wedding night, she had the cultural divide between the negotiating vanished into thin air as French troops parties—the French and English ambassa- marched in to occupy the town. She had dors’ stalling tactics on the one hand, and ‘Pure A.F.Th., with an therefore never received the “morning gift” the impatience of the new Dutch Repub- ingenious love-triangle the bridegroom traditionally presents to lic’s leaders on the other. In the persuasive plot set against a the bride… or had she? skill with which his world is brought to background of gripping As town clerk of the city of Nijmegen, life, and the stylistic and artistic force historical events.’ Caspar is involved in the peace negotia- spilling from every page, we recognize – De Gelderlander tions with France and England. He is the author of the great sagas that made indispensible to the young Dutch Republic Van der Heijden famous. ‘Van der Heijden once again proves how masterful he is at telling a tale.’ – De Tijd ‘We find ourselves deep in Van der Heijden’s universe; he is always ready, with a keen eye and flawless turn of phrase, for the nastiest details.’ – de Volkskrant ‘Van der Heijden plays an intriguing game with A.F.Th. van der Heijden (b. 1951) is one of espionage and counter- Dutch literature’s most important writers. He has espionage, loyalty and a vast, critically acclaimed and award-winning betrayal, and the urgent body of work to his name. The two great multi-volume novels that are the core of his question of what is and oeuvre are the semi-autobiographical De what is not warranted in Tandeloze Tijd (The Toothless Time), which the name of a just cause.’ depicts “a life in all its breadth”, and Homo – Haarlems Dagblad Duplex, about a modern-day Oedipus. In 2013 Van der Heijden received the P.C. Hooft Prize for his entire oeuvre. Photo: Bob Bronshoff9 Books from Holland Allard Schröder Sebastian’s Nose A novel of illusion, and an ode to romance and magic The tenth novel of one of the Netherlands’ in a private library. Sebastiaan would Publishing details Sebastiaans neus (2016) finest stylists is about the power of listen to her playing the piano while 448 pp. 140.000 words memory. Or rather, the power of memory lurking in the bushes outside her house. to deceive. Schröder paints a sensitive, But it took him longer to grow up than it Publisher sensual and colourful portrait of a man took Henri, so by the time he reached De Bezige Bij who is transported back in time to his puberty, he had lost her, and life took a Marijke Nagtegaal m.nagtegaaldebezigebij.nl first love by the smell of a cigarette. different turn. Threaded throughout this Uta Matten book is the realization that when it comes u.mattendebezigebij.nl Sebastiaan Welsend is fired shortly before to love, reality doesn’t hold a candle to the he would retire from his job at a bank. He memory of it—or the imagined memory of Translated title decides to take up smoking again. At an it, since the two are virtually impossible L’hydrographe (De hydrograaf). elegant dinner, he finds himself daydream- to tell apart. Phébus, 2004. Also in Norway (Aschehoug), Italy (Iperborea) and ing about his first love. He comes to a Schröder skips back and forth between Germany (Mare). stunning realization: lighting a cigarette the present and the past, until a brain is what makes the memory come back— tumour threatens to erase all of Sebas- “The smoker awoke the cynic’s nostalgia, tiaan’s memories. He nevertheless travels so that together they willingly, wistfully, to the American hamlet of Prosperity to lost themselves in the golden summers look for Henri, only to be told that he has of their youth.” just missed her. In the end, however, as His first love’s name was Henriëtte if sent by God at the right time, he winds ‘Schröder beautifully Clinger, but she preferred to be called up being given a role to play in her life evokes the mechanism Henri. They were childhood friends, after all. of memory and pseudo- hiding from the world among the books memory, driven by associations and dissociations. Moments in which literature splashes all over you in a big wave, and insinuates itself into every nook and cranny of your body.’ – NRC Handelsblad ‘An ode to the magical universe, against which our plain, rational world forms stands out in sharp contrast. The fact that he is able to pin down that world in such a convincing way is mainly thanks to his brilliant and fantastical style, as well as his imagination.’– Trouw Allard Schröder (b. 1946) is a writer, essayist ‘Splendid, enigmatic novel and poet. His big breakthrough came in 2002 about the humdrum life we with the novel De hydrograaf (The Hydro- grapher), the story of Franz von Karsch who never expected or dreamt boards a ship bound for Brazil from Hamburg in we would have, but with the spring of 1905. It sold 50,000 copies, and which are obliged to make was also crowned with the AKO Literature Prize. do.’ – Nederlands Dagblad His last novel but one, De dode arm (The Dead Arm) (2013) was also shortlisted for the AKO Prize. Photo: Anja van Wijgerden10 Books from Holland Theo Thijssen Kees the Boy A timeless, touching story about a boy, and an ode to fantasy Kees the Boy is that rare early twentieth- own life) is grim. The story takes place Publishing details Kees de jongen (1923) century Dutch novel that never seems to around the year 1890. His father, a cobbler 380 pp. 112,000 words go out of print. Every new generation in Amsterdam’s working class Jordaan 100,000 copies sold finds something to identify with in this district, succumbs to tuberculosis and moving, funny book about what’s going dies when Kees is just turning twelve. Rights on inside the head of an ordinary boy The cobbler’s shop is shuttered, and his Public Domain from Amsterdam at the turn of the mother must make ends meet peddling Publisher century. coffee and tea. Athenaeum-Polak & Van Gennep Yet there is also positive growth: Kees’s Jolijn Spooren Thijssen did not originally intend Kees increasing self-confidence, thanks to his j.spoorensingeluitgeverijen.nl the Boy, published in serial form, to be a daydreams at first, but later - when as the More information portrait of just one boy. He subtitled the eldest son he has to take on new responsi- Theo Thijssen Museum, first instalment “A youth-psychology case bilities - manifesting itself in real life as www.theothijssenmuseum.nl study”. His main object was to underscore well. In the end his daydreams about his the one trait that some of the rest of us classmate Rosa Overbeek come true. For Sample translation available may manage to hang on to all our lives, the duration of three kisses, anyway, since but which boys of twelve tend to possess that’s when they must part; Kees has to in spades: the power of the imagination. leave school. Every time his prospects seem far from In his aversion to literary artifice, rosy, Kees fantasizes about how things Thijssen resembles his Dutch contempo- could work out for him, if … If that rich raries Nescio and Willem Elsschot, known tourist asked him for directions—and Kees for their terse, forthright style. He avoids answered him in his best French. Or if sentimentality by showing the family’s he managed to pull the daughter of his misfortunes through the eyes of Kees, who father’s wealthy client out of the way of simply won’t believe things are as bad as ‘Timeless, graceful, warm, an oncoming horse-drawn tram just in they are. The adult reader knows better, dramatic, yet tender, the nick of time. In that respect the book however, which is where the book’s I know of no other book is reminiscent of James Thurber’s The dramatic tension lies. Not many writers that depicts youth as Secret Life of Walter Mitty. are as good at allowing the reader to slip lovingly as this Dutch You can’t blame Kees for daydreaming, from the real to the hero’s subjective (yet classic. And I envy every because real life (based in part on Thijssen’s also universally recognizable) experience. reader, no matter where in the world, who doesn’t yet know Kees and is about to make his acquaintance. What joy’ – Geert Mak ‘Rosa Overbeek Not only was she Kees’s first love; she was mine too. I would Theo Thijssen (1879-1943) is famous today as even go so far as to say that the author of Kees the Boy; but he also wrote anyone who was never in eight other novels for adults, one children’s book, love with Rosa Overbeek and a memoir about his own youth. And he was doesn’t know what love is.’ much more than that: beloved teacher in a – Remco Campert working-class section of Amsterdam, satirical provocateur of the education authorities, teachers’ union leader, and politician, having ‘In my case, this delightful, served as a member of parliament and often re-read book is one Amsterdam councilman. His contemporaries of the loves of my life.’ knew him as an “amiable giant” with a walrus – Simon Carmiggelt moustache. Hundreds of Dutch primary schools are named after Theo Thijssen, as are several teacher training colleges. 11 Books from Holland Erik Kriek In the Pines Five famous “murder ballads” reimagined as a spine-chilling graphic novel Erik Kriek has taken five classic American the story behind the music is often just as Publishing Details In the Pines murder ballads and reworked them in poignant as the song itself. 138 pp. 6,000 words comic book form. His robust black ink Instead of giving us a literal rendition of 5,000 copies sold strokes and ominous narrative style the lyrics, Kriek went looking for the story bring to mind the art of Charles Burns. behind the song. The result is a compelling Publisher The subject matter and narrative voice collection of dark tales. This visual tour de Scratch Books Irene Kunst mesh seamlessly, emulating the greats— force also comes with a CD with music Irene.kunstscratchbooks.nl Johnny Cash, Steve Earle, and others. from the Blue Grass Boogiemen, so that www.scratchbooks.nl you can listen to the songs, some of them Everyone knows at least one murder sung by the author himself (). The book’s Translated titles ballad. It’s a classic bluegrass or folk introduction is by Jan Donkers, an Dans les pins (L’An 2, 2016) In the Pines (avant-verlag, 2016) sub-genre halfway between fiction and authority on American culture. reality, and deals with the great themes: Erik Kriek’s distinctive style is one that Rights sold crime, murder, betrayal, love. Every song is lends itself richly to dark tales. He works German (Avant Verlag), a story with a beginning, middle and end. in dramatic black ink; each story has its Italy (Eris Edizioni) and And whether it is The Long Black Veil own distinctive background shade. With Serbia (Besna Kobila) (made famous by The Band and Johnny this new collection, brilliantly combining Complete English translation Cash among others) or Where the Wild music and image, Kriek clinches his place available Roses Grow (Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue), as a master of the graphic novel. ‘Pounding feet, terrified glances, a noose around someone’s neck: with dramatic close-ups and a cinematic approach, there is much to savour in Erik Kriek’s comic book, based on murder ballads.’ – de Volkskrant ‘A brilliant idea…Set, with apt affection for the Gothic mood, in the nineteenth- Erik Kriek (b. Amsterdam, 1966) is an illustrator century American and comic book artist. His illustrations have been landscape.’ – Trouw published in The Boston Globe, Weltwoche, de Volkskrant, NRC Handelsblad, Vrij Nederland, ‘The thing Kriek does so Het Parool and the VPRO Gids. He is also a well is to allow landscape designer of record albums, posters and skate- boards. In 2008 he won the Stripschapprijs, and setting to create the the Netherlands’ most prestigious award for mood… Even when the sun cartoonists. His rendition of the stories of H.P. is shining, it’s dark in the Lovecraft, The Unseeable and Other Stories, woods.’ – De Standaard came out in the Netherlands in 2012 and has since been translated into Spanish, French, Italian, German, Serbian and Swedish.12 Books from Holland Bart-Jan Kazemier Drone Heart-stopping contemporary thriller about warfare by remote control Today’s tech-driven warfare is increas- and killed in cold blood by a hit man on Publishing details Drone (2016) ingly conducted by unmanned aircraft the payroll of military intelligence. Eliot 336 pp. 115,000 words across vast distances. But in Drone, his arrives just too late to save her. He takes second crime novel, Bart-Jan Kazemier this as a grim warning, realizing every- Publisher makes clear the human factor remains as thing will be put in play to render him Cargo pivotal as ever. harmless. Marijke Nagtegaal m.nagtegaaldebezigebij.nl Meanwhile we follow Defence Minister Uta Matten The prologue cites exchanges between Ava Rodenburg’s attempt to push a bill u.mattendebezigebij.nl troops on the ground and their distant through parliament involving the purchase www.debezigebij.nl command during an Afghan mission. It of a drone. Ava thinks it is essential to add appears that something went wrong, but unmanned aircraft to the nation’s arsenal what? The suicide of Rens Veltman twelve if the Netherlands is to have a role in years later spurs his girlfriend, Merijn global affairs. “Who purchases new Turing, and Miriam Veltman, his sister, to technology will determine the future,” lift the lid off this incident and uncover the is her motto. She dreams of becoming government’s guilt in the cover-up. The a significant figure in history, just like her only hard evidence of what went wrong father, who was a defence minister before during the mission in that Afghan village, her and led the fight against terrorism Orta, exists on a hard drive with encrypted post-9/11. Her drone legislation is defeat- data they have in their possession. But ed, however, when one of her coalition anyone who comes into contact with this partners votes against it and another, Jan information risks his or her life. Kassels, fails to show up for the vote and They approach politician Jan Kassels later turns up dead on the golf course. to persuade him to vote against a drone In this cleverly constructed, extremely acquisition, but he promptly vanishes into tense spy thriller, Kazemier hurtles the thin air. When Merijn too goes missing, reader at great speed to the end, when Miriam asks the former commando Eliot what took place in Orta is finally revealed. Koler to help her. Koler was in Orta with By alluding to real political scandals and Rens, and may know how to decipher the subterfuges, he subtly manages to make information on the hard drive. On her way his story, set in the not-too-distant future, to meeting him, Miriam is run off the road more than a little plausible. ‘A cat-and-mouse game, hard as nails, until the very last line.’ – Charles den Tex ‘A page turner with a whirlwind of action, sturdy characters and a conspiracy theory that turns out to be far less shocking than the actual truth.’ – De Telegraaf Bart-Jan Kazemier is a new star in the Dutch crime- Bart-Jan Kazemier (b. 1979) made his debut in novel firmament.’ 2014 with the enthusiastically received thriller – Hebban Crimezone De man in het midden (The Man in the Middle) about a conspiracy in which a criminal lawyer down on his luck becomes embroiled. Photo: Bart Dykstra13 Books from Holland New Talent on the Rise Four Young Dutch Authors Making a Splash on the International Literary Market A psychological novel about adoption An enchanting rollercoaster of stories and and loss, bullying and revenge plots down to the last page Wytske Versteeg Niña Weijers Boy The Consequences 5,000 copies sold 20,000 copies sold Publisher: Prometheus Rights: Hayo Deinum, Atlas Contact, Rights: Willem Bisseling, Sebes & h.deinumatlascontact.nl Bisseling, bisselingsebes.nl Rights Sold: Czech Republic (Kniha Rights sold: Denmark (Turbine), Italy Zlin), France (Actes Sud), Germany (Scritturapura), Germany (Suhrkamp), US (Doppel House (Wagenbach), UK (HopeRoad), Press) Turkey (Kahve Yayinlari) ‘Versteeg’s prose takes the reader ‘The novel grates and creaks, and to a place of dark human motives, to is loaded with questions, leaps sodden terrain where complexity and side paths, but that is one of and ambiguity reign, and where the its charms. Up to the last disturbing monster is given a human voice. sentence the writer holds the reader This she does tremendously well.’ in her manipulative grip.’ – Vrij Nederland – De Groene Amsterdammer A vibrant coming-of-age novel about Fascinating combination of a postmodern growing up between two cultures campus novel and a spy thriller Mano Bouzamour Joost de Vries The Promise of Pisa The Republic 16,000 copies sold 11,000 copies sold Publisher: Ronit Palache, Publisher: Prometheus Prometheus, r.palachepbo.nl Rights: Alexandra McNicoll, Rights Sold: Colombia (Rey Naranjo Conville & Walsh Editores), Germany (Residenz Verlag) Rights Sold: UK (Arcadia), USA (Other Press), France (Feux Croisés), Germany (Heyne), Greece (Metaichmio), Spain (Anagrama), Italy (Bompiani), Turkey (Domingo), Estonia (Varrak) ‘Mano knows what it is to grow up as the son of Moroccan parents in the notorious Diamantbuurt and has a fantastic talent for bringing ‘His books are courageous puzzles that world to life. When I met him on a grand scale, full of references I thought, if he can get this down on to other books, yet original and paper, it’ll be a book that everyone infectious reflections of contempo- should read. And now here it is, on rary reality.’ – Jury Charlotte paper.’ – Joris Luyendijk Köhler Stipendium14 Books from Holland Recent Translations This is a selection of recently published translations from the Dutch. For more information please go to our online database of translations www.vertalingendatabase.nl. Frederik van Eeden Esther Gerritsen Hendrik Groen The Quest Roxy Attempts to Make Something of Life Maly Johannes Translated into English by Michele Hutchison  ˇ Translated into Slovak by Adam Bzoch for for World Editions, 2016. Intentos de sacarle algo a la vida Európa, 2015. Translated into Spanish by Marta Arguilé Bernal for Roca, 2016. Hella S. Haasse Willem Frederik Hermans Guus Kuijer Eye of the Key The Darkroom of Damocles The Bible for Unbelievers(2) Das indonesische Geheimnis Damoklova mrac ˇna komora Die Bibel für Ungläubige (2) ˇ Translated into German by Birgit Erdmann Translated into Croatian by Radovan Lucic Translated into German by Angela Wicharz-  and Andrea Kluitmann for Transit, 2015. for V.B.Z., 2015. Lindner and Anna Carstens for Kunstmann, 2015.15 Books from Holland Tip Marugg Cees Nooteboom Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer The Roar of Morning Philip and the Others; La Superba All Souls’ Day; Lost Paradise Translated into English by Paul Vincent for La Superba Yale University Press, 2015. Translated into English by Michele Hutchison Resa for Deep Vellum, 2016. Translated into Swedish by Per Holmer for Modernista, 2015. Jaap Robben Ida Simons Miek Zwamborn You Have Me to Love A Foolish Virgin Measuring Distance Birk Une heure avant minuit Wir sehen uns am Ende der Welt Translated into Turkish by Erhan Gürer for Translated into French by Mireille Cohendy Translated into German by Bettina Bach for Kahve Yayinlari, 2016. for Belfond, 2016. Nagel & Kimche, 2015.Books from Holland Esther Gerritsen A.F.Th. van der Heijden Brother The Morning Gift H.M. van den Brink Allard Schröder Dijk Sebastian’s Nose Mensje van Keulen Theo Thijssen Queen of Spades Kees the Boy Rodaan al Galidi Erik Kriek How I Found a Talent for Living In the Pines Pia de Jong Bart-Jan Kazemier Charlotte Drone Books from Holland is distributed to international editors and publishers. Please contact us if you would like to be included on our mailing list. Editors Dick Broer, Barbara den Ouden, Tiziano Perez, Victor Schiferli Contributions Dick Broer, Marlies Hoff, Mara Joustra, Barbara den Ouden, Tiziano Perez, Victor Schiferli, Peter-Paul van Baar Translation Hester Velmans Cover Image Postbus /PO Box 16588 Victor Schiferli ederlands 1001 RB Amsterdam www.flickr.com/victorschiferli N letterenfonds t +31 (0)20 520 73 00 f +31 (0)20 520 73 99 dutch foundation postletterenfonds.nl Printing for literature www.letterenfonds.nl Platform P visiting address Design Nieuwe Prinsengracht 89 1018 VR Amsterdam Kummer & Herrman, Utrecht