TiBE 台北國際書展 2025.2.4-9

Featured Authors from the Netherlands

26 January 2024 /

©  Stephan Vanfleteren

Ilja Pfeijffer

"The love of my life lives in my past. That is, despite the alliteration, a terrible sentence to write. I do not want to come to the conclusion that, as it is the case for the hotel where I am staying and the continent after which it is named, the best time is behind me and that I have little more to expect from the future than to live on my past." —Grand Hotel Europa

Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer (1968) is a renowned Dutch author whose literary repertoire spans genres, encompassing poetry, novels, short stories, plays, essays, scientific studies, and columns. His works are characterised by a powerful style and a classical command of form, often delving into philosophical, cultural, and societal themes. His notable works include "La Superba," a novel that won the Libris Literature Prize in 2014, and "Grand Hotel Europa," a fictionalized memoir about the into the complexities of contemporary Europe. Pfeijffer's latest work, "Alkibiades" is a historical novel that delves into the life and tumultuous times of the Athenian statesman and military leader Alcibiades, providing a fresh perspective on the dynamics of power, ambition, and personal transformation.

©  Linette Raven

Maxim Februari
"Too much knowledge about the future threatens to get stuck with experts and at universities; I think it would be good to retrieve that knowledge and have a timely public conversation about the changes awaiting us." —Give Us a Break

Maxim Februari (1963) is one of the Netherlands' most multifaceted and influential contemporary thinkers. His writings span an extensive array of genres, encompassing novels, essays, and columns. His works, such as "The Making of a Man," "The Book Club," and "Lump," are marked by their incisive wit, captivating prose, and profound explorations of philosophical, social, and cultural themes. In his latest essay, "Give Us a Break," Februari delves into the digital realm, scrutinizing the threat to human autonomy posed by data-driven governments. In 2020, he received the esteemed P.C. Hooft Prize in recognition of his literary contributions spanning over three decades.

©  Eddo Hartmann

Alfred Birney
"Of course, we have all made mistakes, most arising from the fact that error is inherent in the works of man and is therefore to be forgiven." —The Interpreter from Java

Alfred Birney (1951) is a writer of novels, short stories and essays where his Dutch, East Javanese, Chinese and Scottish roots often play a central role. His literary works consistently delve into themes of alienation from family and the struggle to connect with one's homeland. Exploring identity, colonialism, and the intricacies of cultural heritage, Birney skilfully intertwines personal narratives with historical reflections. Debuting in 1987 with "Tamara's Amusement Park," he later edited a substantial anthology of Dutch East Indies literary fiction in 1998, meanwhile his best-selling autobiographical novel, "The Interpreter from Java" (2016), earned multiple awards and was adapted for the theatre.

©  Wouter le Duc

Radna Fabias
"first i seek your body in the city
i don’t find it of course but i’m not in a hurry so
patiently i unscrew body parts from passers-by and quietly use them
to assemble yours
i manage pretty well
i only need the color"
i seek you in the city, Habitus (translated from Dutch by David Colmer)

Radna Fabias (1983) is a poet and writer from Curaçao, hailed as the Dutch literary talent of 2019 for her award-winning debut poetry collection Habitus. Fabias' work is characterised by a great variety, both in terms of content and style, ranging from short, lyrical verses to narrative expanses, blending accessibility with experimental nuances. Drawing from her Caribbean roots, she challenges stereotypes about tropical idylls, using irony and ready-mades. Beyond her poetic prowess, she serves as a Dutch translator for poet Warsan Shire and Nobel laureate Louise Glück.

©  Nina Schollaardt

Thomas Olde Heuvelt
"People find hope, comfort, or confidence in making the sign of the cross or not walking under a ladder, just as you find hope and confidence in offering a pennant to the witch. Magic exists in the minds of those who believe in it, not in its actual influence on reality." —HEX

Thomas Olde Heuvelt (1983) is a Dutch horror novelist whose genre-spanning work encompasses magical realism, fantasy, modern horror, and suspense, often infused with humour and emotion. Olde Heuvelt achieved worldwide recognition in 2016 with his breakout horror novel, "HEX" which has been published in over twenty-five countries and is currently in development for television. Notably, Olde Heuvelt made history as the first translated author to win the prestigious Hugo Award for his short story "The Day the World Turned Upside Down." With two additional Hugo Award nominations and a World Fantasy Award nomination, his impact on the genre is unmistakable.

Joyce Bergvelt
"He watched helplessly as a wave washed onto the deck, receding again, taking the wounded sailor with it over the side. The man's last cry was cut off abruptly as he was engulfed by the waves." —Lord of Formosa

Joyce Bergvelt (1963) is a Dutch-born writer whose nomadic childhood led her to Japan, England, and finally Taiwan, the setting for her acclaimed literary debut, "Lord of Formosa." The book earned praise from both readers and the press, securing a runner-up spot for the Asian Books Blog Book of the Year Award in 2019. Specializing in historical non-fiction, Bergvelt explores various aspects of Dutch history, with a focus on the colonial period. Her latest historical novel, "Commander of the Cape," centres on Simon van der Stel, the 17th-century VOC commander of Cape of Good Hope. Bergvelt writes in both English and Dutch and is also engaged in translation work, specializing in literary texts.

© Annaleen Louwes

Carolijn Visser
"She had never been someone who belonged. Not to her family, not to her school, not to her friends. She had always been on the outside looking in. Maybe that's why she'd always been drawn to the sea, to the vast, open expanse that seemed to promise endless possibilities." —Selma

Carolijn Visser (1982) is a renowned author and journalist and one of the best-known Dutch travel writers. She has been travelling the world since the age of fifteen, with a particular interest in China, Vietnam, Nicaragua, and Tibet. Visser is adept at visualizing distant cultures and bringing the recent past to life in a compelling way. Her novels "Selma" and "Father of Grace" as well as her travel stories showcase a profound interest in the personal stories and resilience of people who can survive under harsh circumstances. 

©  Dick Vos

Bibi Dumon Tak
"I am always happy. It seems as if the little birds here in the stable, who feast on the manure, are also inside me, under my fur. Or they flutter through my whole body. Back and forth, all the way into my head. Sometimes I just can't stand still." —The Cow Paradise, 2017

Bibi Dumon Tak (1964) is a Dutch writer known for children's non-fiction. She often finds inspiration in the natural world, crafting tales centred around animals—ranging from cows escaping slaughter to wartime carrier pigeons. Tak creatively imparts facts to young readers using talking animals, covering various topics. Her literary imagination garnered her the Theo Thijssen Prize in 2018. Dumon Tak's storytelling captivates both young and mature audiences alike. In adult literature, her novel "The Day I Changed My Name" (2020) explores familial grief. She is also recognized for "Rotjongens" (2007), a portrayal of youth in juvenile prisons.

©  Sanne de Wolf

Charlotte Dematons
"Our world is so rich, and I get to capture pieces of it through my drawings. It's my way of connecting and communicating with my readers. And all those perspectives and stories can, in turn, be the starting point for a conversation with someone else." —Charlotte Dematons

Charlotte Dematons (born in 1957) is a French-born Dutch illustrator renowned for her captivating and detail-rich illustrations. Her work consistently evokes a sense of wonder and magic, skilfully combining realistic observations with a touch of whimsy. Dematons's illustrations are characterized by vibrant colours, intricate details, and an ability to evoke emotions. She has received numerous awards, including the Gouden Penseel, Zilveren Penseel, and Leespluim. Some of her most celebrated works include the illustrated editions of Grimm's Fairy Tales, the wordless picture book "Sinterklaas," and the "Alphabet" book.