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Foreign Rights Guide London Book Fair 2014

De Bezige Bij The Busy Bee Van Miereveldstraat 1 • nl-1071 dw Amsterdam • Postbus 75184 • nl-1070 ad Amsterdam The Netherlands • tel +31 20 305 9810 • fax +31 20 305 9824


foreign rights guide london book fair 2014 new literary fiction Tommy Wieringa A Beautiful Young Woman Erwin Mortier The Reflections Peter Terrin Monte Carlo Jan Siebelink Blue Night Ivo Victoria Thieves of Passion Daan Heerma van Voss The Land 32 Christophe Van Gerrewey Your Train Has Been Delayed Jeroen Theunissen The Detours Maartje Wortel Ice Age commercial fiction Roel Janssen Nazi Gold

new literary non-fiction Theo Toebosch The First to Fall. The Drama of 2 August 1914 Huib Stam Food Fables

new graphic novels Dirk-Jan Hoek Mao’s Sparrows Robert van Raffe Unfiltered

successful titles Jonathan Holslag The Power of Paradise A.F.Th. van der Heijden The Hellcat Stefan Hertmans War and Turpentine Margriet de Moor Mélodie d’amour Frank Westerman Choke Valley

4 8 12 16 18 20 22 24 26

28

30 32

34 36

38 40 42 44 46


Dear Friends, I am writing to you during Book Week, the most important time of the year for the Dutch book publishing industry. In a tradition dating back decades, readers who purchase a book worth 12.50 euro or more from their local bookshop receive a short novel written especially for Book Week. The print run is enormous – more than 700,000 copies – and the book is on everybody’s lips for weeks. This year our author Tommy Wieringa had the honour of writing the gift book. And he did a truly remarkable job. It received an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response, has been showered with 5-star reviews and at the moment of writing Tommy is in the middle of a national book tour. Wherever he goes long queues form beneath a brilliant blue sky. Spring is in the air! So it is with pride that we present to an international audience: ‘A Beautiful Young Woman’, a superb novel replete with aphorisms, an accomplished style and a sophisticated plot and psychology. And at its heart is an intriguing anti-hero who will grip the reader until the very end. While Stefan Hertmans’ ‘War and Turpentine’ has been riding high in the bestseller lists for months and is receiving nominations for every conceivable prize (the translation rights have been sold to 12 countries), Joël Dicker is also enjoying huge success in the Netherlands and Belgium. And on top of that, apart from the splendid Erwin Mortier, De Bezige Bij is having a great spring with new work by Peter Terrin, Jan Siebelink, Maartje Wortel and many others. A few years ago Jan Siebelink had a major breakthrough with his novel ‘In My Father’s Garden’, a novel that captures both the beauty and tragedy of the Protestant-mystical love of God and a favourite with hundreds of thousands of readers across the Netherlands and Germany. ‘Blue Night’ is the complete antithesis of that book: a novel linking the love of women and the female body with the spirituality of 19th-century decadence, a long-­standing area of interest in Siebelink’s oeuvre. ‘Blue Night’ is a compelling novel set in Paris, against the backdrop of the OAS attacks, a sensual and feverish atmosphere. A secular revelation! Peter Terrin takes us to the equally worldly milieu of Formula 1 in ‘Monte Carlo’. The life of a simple mechanic is turned upside-down when, during a sudden blaze in the pit lane, he throws himself on top of a beautiful young actress to protect her from the fire. Seriously injured as he is, what can he expect from life, from her, from Providence? Isn’t that the question all artists ask themselves when they have been burned by the sun, and the work is done? Henk Pröpper Director / Publisher


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‘Wieringa’s masterful depiction of a faltering ***** – de volkskrant

marriage’

‘A magician at work.’ *****– de morgen ‘Not every Dutch Book Week gift is a hit, but this one is cause for celebration. Tommy Wieringa’s A Beautiful Young Woman is the best gift book since 1984, when literary novellas were reinstated.’ ***** – de persdienst

tommy wieringa (1967) is the author of the best-selling novels Joe Speedboat, Little Caesar (shortlisted for the Impac Literary Award 2013) and These Are The Names (winner of the Libris Literature Prize 2013). His work has been published in more than fifteen countries and has garnered high praise, both at home and abroad. Wieringa is ranked the most important Dutch author of 2013 on a new author rank list (Editio top 35) which ranks critical acclaim, sales numbers, international success and public profile.


new literary fiction

Tommy Wieringa A Beautiful Young Woman He never married and was never with the same woman for long, he has always remained a collector of first times. Edward Landauer, a brilliant microbiolo­ gist in his forties, meets a beautiful young woman. She is the love of his life and when the two marry in France, Edward is the happiest man in the world. Ruth Walta appears to represent a victory over time, but even she cannot stop him growing older. And before long, their marriage descends into a clash between her idealism and his realism. Edward’s research relies on animal testing, whereas Ruth is troubled by the animals’ fear and confusion. It takes the couple a long time to conceive and it is not until they have started going through the motions that Ruth finally falls pregnant. After the birth of their son, the ‘happiness, delicate like filigree’ turns to despair, as the baby won’t stop crying. The sleepless nights cause an even greater rift between Edward and Ruth. Ruth distances herself and banishes him from her bed, while Edward no longer recognizes the woman he fell in love with. Constantly aware of his decline, Edward tries to find a new balance in the arms of another young woman. Slowly but surely life as he knew it slips through his fingers, and he learns the meaning of real pain, true suffering. World rights: De Bezige Bij • English sample translation available Rights sold: Hanser (Germany), Actes Sud (France), Iperborea (Italy), Scribe (UK/ANZ) • Fiction 96 pages 5


excerpt

A Beautiful Young Woman Translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett

H e rowed. She sat on the little bench at the back of the boat. There was almost no current. The fields turned gradually to woods. Old, tall trees, individuals with names of their own. They went gliding between round, mossy banks, mansions shimmered through the greenery. private property, no mooring. He thought about the families with their mysterious names; they had not held up, the weight of all the possessions and history had broken their backs. The chronicles stood written in mold on the damp walls. Great lawyers and statesmen had stepped forward from their ranks, men who had shaped the nation and passed it along in good shape to the next generation. That permanency, that was over and done with. Their great-grandchildren had become bankers and writers, their lives dedicated to their own. The green folded closed above their heads, the crowns shot through with arrows of prismatic light. He rowed soundlessly. Where the oars disappeared into the water there arose silky purls of black and silver. He had his shirtsleeves rolled up. She thought his arms were nice. They slid back into daylight. On the shore they spread a blanket and lifted their faces to the late sun. Behind them was a cherry orchard, covered in green netting. He unpacked the basket and she asked: “Did you make all this yourself?” Little sandwiches. A salad, the dressing kept apart. “I love purslane,” he said. “It tastes the way earth smells.” When they had eaten a bit she said, “Come on, let’s go buy some cherries.” She wore a white cotton dress, her legs were tanned. At the entrance to the orchard, a woman in an apron was sitting in a little shelter. Edward bought a pound of cherries. They were crisp and sweet, the spring had been warm and dry. They walked back to the river and spit the pits as far away as they could. They drank wine and talked about her sociology study that wasn’t going well, and about the trips he took, the conferences he attended. He looked at her. Did she realize that she was drinking a bone-dry Apremont, perfect for an occasion like this? She scratched her leg. White furrows appeared beneath her nails. The evening after he comes up and talks to her in the cafe, she types his name in the search box. She sees pictures of him at international gatherings, apparently some bigwig in virology. He’s taller than the rest. She thinks a beard looks good on him. A few days later there’s an invitation in the mailbox, for an outing with the boat. That same day she responds with a postcard. As darkness starts to fall he is the first to climb into the boat. He reaches out to her. She grabs his hand, takes a giant step. He rows back, the current stronger than he’d thought. In the darkness beneath the trees he wants to stay right in midstream and correct as little as possible, it needs to be perfect. “Wait a minute,” she says after a while. She leans forward and places her hand on his. He stops 6


rowing. “Hear that?” she whispers. “So quiet... Not even a bird.” Only the drops falling from the oars. Just before they touch the bank he brings the left oar alongside and lets it rest in the water. Standing up, she says: “Permission to leave ship?” They clamber up onto the bank and he ties the boat. She disappears between the tall, smooth trunks, her white hair fluorescent and enticing. A creature that brings misfortune to those who follow her song, deeper and deeper into the woods. The English country garden belongs to the mansion further along, tucked away amid the trees. The windows are darkened, there is no sign of life. He’ll buy it for her and look at it from a distance each day, by nightfall, an illuminated beehive. That’s where he will live and make children with this glorious woman, one child for each room. She excites him incredibly, but he doesn’t want to ruin it by being too greedy, by revealing his desperate longing. More than ever, he realizes now, being in love connects him with the boy he once was, with the first time, his mouth dry and his heart pounding, the first time of all first times that followed. He never married and was never with the same woman for long, he has always remained a collector of first times. Now he is forty-two and knows for a fact that everything has gone the way it’s gone only in order to bring him to this girl. She laughs as she reappears among the trees, a light-footed, heathen goddess. “This is such a wonderful place,” she says. She speaks rather softly, as though the trees and the grass might hear. When she stands on tiptoe and kisses him, he has the confusing feeling that she went into the woods to consult with others of her kind, nymphs like her, gathered around the black reflecting pool. They lie on the humid bed of grass and moss and make love slowly, with the timidity of bodies not yet fully acquainted. So soon, so soon, a voice inside him says. Her willingness makes him dizzy with happiness. The thrill at the back of his throat at her young body, a dash of light on the forest floor. Haste creeps into his movements, hunger. He forgets all he knows, hurried as a boy he licks her belly, her salty sex, in abandon, as though he has drunk too much. Later, when he drives into her and leans on his arms, she writhes beneath him. He thrusts into her, she laughs and says “I wondered when you’d get there”. Her experience surprises him, he has forgotten that people her age already know everything. Their bodies, covered by the green half-light. Sweat that grows cold, semen contracting on skin. She lies on her side, in the shelter of his arm, his hands resting on her buttocks. “Too bad you don’t smoke,” she says. “I’ve been told,” he says, “that artists feel like they’re further along than their predecessors. That they look at their work and think they’ve outstripped history. A feeling of... liberation. And triumph.” “Why do you say that?” He grins. “Liberation and triumph.” She’s silent for a moment. “You mean, like now?” “Now.” “Nice guy,” she says. And, a little later: “And what about the next part?” “Which part’s that?” “The part where it never gets any better than this?” 7


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‘Erwin Mortier is a stylist through and through, but beneath his stylistic tour de force is a wealth of history and significance. [...] The subtlety with which Mortier brings together aesthetics and tragedy and lays out his narrative is breathtaking. Everything in this novel is precisely on target. Our verdict, in one word? Masterly.’ ***** – de standaard ‘Mortier writes beautifully about clandestine love in wartime. Every sentence is both poetic and powerful.’ – elsevier

erwin mortier (1965) made his literary debut in 1999 with the novel Marcel (awarded, among other things, with the Gerard Walschap Literature Prize). His novel Sleep of the Gods appeared in 2008, signaling his breakthrough to a broader reading public, winning him the 2009 AKO Literature Prize. Winner of the 2013 Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger, catégorie essai, for A Stammered Songbook (Psaumes balbutiés. Livre des heures de ma mère).


new literary fiction

Erwin Mortier The Reflections I love my secrets. They understand me better than anyone and they’re not loose-lipped. Our most essential secrets are those that remain concealed even from us.

The Reflections adds a new panel to Erwin Mortier’s panorama of Belgium. Edgard Demont, born from the mud of World War I, returns physically and emotio­nally wounded to a native country which will never be the same again. In search of a safe place among the confusion and destruction he finds that lovers are more effective than medication in helping him live with injuries that go deeper than the scars on his flesh. Meanwhile there is nothing he can do as his country succumbs to new delusions and further nightmares appear on the horizon.

World rights: De Bezige Bij • English sample translation available Fiction 304 pages 9


excerpt

The Reflections Translated from the Dutch by Liz Waters I love my secrets. They understand me better than anyone and they keep their lips shut. Our most essential secrets remain closed even to us. We knock at their doors but they rarely answer. We peer through their keyholes or put an ear to their planks. What is it we hear, what do we see? Not much more than sighs, footsteps in the hall, stifled sobs, a glimpse of an ankle, a hand scratching incomprehensible prophesies into the plaster of a wall: mene tekel. I love waking and watching the day, no matter if it’s grey or sunny, light up behind the ochre curtain at the attic window as if the world is emerging from the darkness in thick strokes of oil paint, transformed, with no other goal than to change colour. The city stands up out of the bath of the night, takes a proffered towel and puts on its costume of bricks and street patterns, of duty rotas and opening times. The light hauls itself over the ridge beams and slips away, fugitive, across the pantiles. Shutters are rolled up, exposing shop windows full of mannequins motionless as a daydream without denouement. Vendors hang the fresh daily papers to dry in kiosks, in the sour smell of their ink. There ought to be a history of sunlight, of sunrises and sunsets, an inventory of twilights, of noontimes, eventides and those nameless hours between three and five. A history of the angles at which the light shines on our cities and calls down the seasons upon us – an incomplete, endless encyclopaedia of what thousands of windowpanes once reflected. It should also be a history of the bodies we’ve known and that have known us, in the darkness, in dazzling midday light, open and naked, yet which still remain secrets to one another. Rarely have civilizations ventured upon such refinement. I ought to tell of your hand, reaching over the edge of the bed for my fingers as they grope for a hold between your bed and mine when the nurses come yet 10


again to squeeze the sick broth out of my body. I feel the pain grind right into my backbone. The groaning that rebounds off the ceiling and annoys the others is mine, but so bestial a thing that no one would call it his own. ‘Stick it, my friend.’ The first words you address to me. Your hand closes around mine. I look at the shaft of sunlight shining through the high attic window onto your pyjama jacket; you’ve lifted yourself half-upright in the sheets.

‘Stick it, my friend. Steady as she goes...’

I didn’t know that being called back out of nothingness could cause such godawful pain, as if the laws of nature rebelled now they’d met with defiance. I fixed upon the grip of your hand around mine and on the square of azure in the top window. We must have ended up next to each other by chance that afternoon. It shamed me to know you would hear me cry out. I think you saw my fear when the nurses took off my bandages and helped me to turn on my side. I was drowsy from the morphine they’d given me, but I knew it would do little good. You must have noticed the sweat breaking cold on my brow. My body knew what I was in for; our bodies aren’t stupid. I was relieved that a screen hid the rest of my bed from you. I could see it was an effort for you to stay with me like that. One of your arms was bandaged. You must have been in an awkward position. ‘Stick it, my friend.’

I clench my teeth while nurses’ hands knead the fluid out of my seams – they dab me dry with cloths. I look in turn at the high window, at the impassive blue of the sky and into your chestnut-brown eyes. I hear the murmur of the sea and above it the distant roar of ordnance that seems, however strange this may sound, to throw a protective dome over the barracks, an illusion of safety. ‘Matthew,’ you say when it’s over, just before you let go of my hand. ‘Edgard,’ I say. 11


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On The Guard: ‘This masterly surrealist study of contemporary society, by a Flemish original, is worthy of the great JG Ballard.’ – irish times ‘The Guard is a novel that leaves you astonished with its beauty and completeness.’ – nrc handelsblad

peter terrin (1968) is the author of two short story collections and four novels. The Guard won the European Union Prize for Literature and made the longlist of both the Gouden Uil and AKO prizes, and the shortlist of the Libris Literature Prize 2010. Post-mortem (2012) won him the AKO Literature Prize. His work has been translated in numerous languages.


new literary fiction

Peter Terrin Monte Carlo An electrifying novel about heroism, nostalgia and the desire to be seen

Monaco, May 1968. Just before the start of the Formula 1 Grand Prix, when the beau monde mingles with the drivers and their racing cars before the eyes of the world press, the entire grandstand is witness to a terrible incident. Within seconds, two people are caught up in an accident which will change their lives forever: from now on Jack Preston, a simple mechanic for Team Lotus, will bear the scars from which he shielded Deedee, a budding film star and embodiment of the new social mores. At home with his wife, in a remote English village where the 1950s are slow to recede, Jack waits full of longing for a sign of Deedee’s gratitude, while following her meteoric rise on television. In a style that oozes restraint Peter Terrin showcases his rich and evocative imagi­nation.

World rights: De Bezige Bij • English sample translation available Fiction 176 pages 13


excerpt

Monte Carlo Translated from the Dutch by David Colmer

She and her retinue must have entered the circuit somewhere along the quayside. Photojournalists, press hounds and cameramen leap in front of her and are pushed aside by her bodyguards. People call out to her from the stands. She greets a few drivers, shyly, the earnestness with which she listens to their car talk never lasting long, soon giving way to a charming smile, which is also the lead-in to her goodbye. She tosses her locks back or ruffles them up or waves in one direction with a slight head gesture that bares her long neck, and all of it as understated and modestly girlish as if she’s just woken up in the morning. She advances slowly towards the starting line. Hull, who else, takes advantage of the opportunity to kiss her on the cheek, to the great merriment of all watching. Hull, who at a party last year danced on the tables in high heels and drag and fell onto the base and stem of a broken wineglass, kisses her on the cheek, but Deedee’s eyes gleam as if she’s been approached by a true gentle­man. Jack Preston catches a glimpse of her between the backs and legs, and the woman in the stands is sitting ready with her face half-hidden behind her camera with one photo left on the roll, and the smell of fuel grows stronger but doesn’t get through to him, because Deedee now does something strange. She looks at him.

He’s sure of it.

From between all the heads and cameras, she keeps her eyes on him. He’s standing completely alone at the side of the Lotus 49 and she’s looking at him. She gestures impatiently, searching for an opening in the thick hedge of bodies, then spurts forward and slips through under people’s arms to free herself from the hangers-on, laughing and walking to the side of the boulevard with long, quick steps as she comes towards him. The self-­evidence of the ­extraordinary, this afternoon in the streets of Monte Carlo. She recognises him, she must have seen him in Spain or last year at Monza or Francorchamps, although he can’t remember her being there. He would have 14


known. Still, she must have seen him at work somewhere, because she recognises him and breaks free and comes towards him, all before the eyes of the audience, his heart leaps in his breast, and because he knows her face so well it really does feel like a reunion and he gets ready for a hand, a hug, maybe even a kiss, on the far side of the Lotus. This moment doesn’t last longer than two long steps from her swivelling hips. The realisation comes in a flash, in the corners of his eyes he sees that the press, surprised and amused by her sudden escape, are not paying him any attention but turning and starting to run. And it occurs to Jack Preston that Deedee is not looking at him but past him, with one goal in mind, and although he’s not looking that way, he knows the prince has stood up and descended halfway down the steps from the seats of honour, everything points in that direction: the heads turning, Deedee’s fixed gaze, the press ignoring him, and he realises that she has only chosen this route as a spontaneous and uncluttered approach to the prince, flouting the agreements, the protocol, taking the path of least resistance between the Lotus 49 and the main stand. That’s the kind of woman she is and that’s why she’s loved by all. And the photographers opt for the path Deedee has abandoned, the shortest route to the seats of honour, while she reaches the Lotus’s left rear wheel and the sound rings out, the sound of an enormous animal snapping at the oxygen, in the middle of one of her long, lithe steps, the fire not yet a fire, a cloud of heat, colourless, invisible still in the bright sunlight: it smashes into Jack Preston’s back, surrounding him, and the woman in the stands doesn’t know that she’s pressed the shutter. In the exact moment in which his overalls and the brilliantine in his hair are still barriers, distinct from but alongside the ghostly heat, he stretches out an arm and snatches Deedee away and covers her with his body. They are blown up against the advertising signs, his cheek presses against hers, he screams and his scream drowns out hers. And the men in white rolled-up shirtsleeves on the balustrades at St Dévote see the commotion arising in the distance, they hear the animal snap and see a plume of dark smoke forming some ten metres above Clarck’s Lotus. They can only guess at the cause, but they see a thick column of black smoke rising over Boulevard Albert 1er with below it bursts of flame surging up from what can only be a hellish fire. 15


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On In My Father’s Garden: ‘In some achingly beautiful scenes Jan Siebelink gathers fragile and delicate memories of what might have been a paradise.’ – sdz ‘A truly majestic novel [...] Whoever reads this book without a lump in his throat is no human being.’ – elsevier

jan siebelink (1938) reached a record audience with his novel In My Father’s Garden. It sold 600,000 copies, was awarded the AKO Literature Prize and has since been translated in many languages. Last year saw the publication of his unique Daniël in de vallei (Daniel in the Valley), the first novel he ever wrote, but which didn’t see the light for forty years.


new literary fiction

Jan Siebelink Blue Night He could have killed her. That urge was gone now. It had been replaced by something else. Something he didn’t have words for yet.

It’s the early sixties, the time of the Algerian war. Paris is in turmoil. The ­ ­hyper-sensitive Simon is in the autumn of his life and experiencing everything with unprecedented intensity. In a feverish hurry, he embarks on an ambitious dissertation about the fin de siècle, trying to bring together everything that moves him. The turbulent, rebellious city, his own restless, adulterous heart and his love of literature and beauty all enter into an amazing synthesis in his mind and in real life. Finally, in a dreamlike snowy night, it all comes to a head. In Blue Night all of Siebelink’s familiar themes come together spectacularly: the galling bonds of religion and power, the temptations of love, the search for a pure life.

World rights: De Bezige Bij • Fiction 316 pages 17


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On Thieves of Passion: ‘In his third novel, Ivo Victoria is more ambitious than ever […] This cleverly structured book, with its beautiful language and broad spectrum of emotions, can be read on many different levels.’ **** – de morgen On Fortunately, There’s Nothing We Can Do: ‘Stunning’ – de standaard ‘With his second novel, Victoria takes a wide sweep and succeeds in capturing the fear and desperation of modern life in singing prose.’ – het parool

ivo victoria (1971) made his literary debut in 2009 with the bittersweet coming of age comedy How I Never Won the Tour de France for Under Twelves (and I’m Sorry). The book was shortlisted for the Dutch Debut Prize. His second novel, Fortunately We’re Powerless, was shortlisted for the prestigious Libris Literature Prize. Ivo Victoria also writes short stories and columns for various newspapers and (literary) magazines.


new literary fiction

Ivo Victoria Thieves of Passion The idea is that the wasps are covered in the substance, take it into the nest and poison the queen. The queen dies and the nest is abandoned. I asked the fellow if it really worked. ‘Absolutely’, he said. ‘That queen is a goner. Antwerp, the mid-1990s. One flat in an empty tower block which is being converted into a hotel has been abandoned fully furnished. The occupant has disappeared ­ without a trace. Three young men break in. Over the course of four eventful nights they ‘rescue’ a collection of 5,000 jazz LPs, a stuffed balloon fish and a plastic folder full of draft versions of letters. They are heart-rending love letters, dating back to the early 1980s and written by the last occupant of the flat, a young widow by the name of Josée. The letters are all addressed to a certain Clive Davis, a DJ at a local pirate radio station – Radio Annick – and hint at a problematic relationship between the two. Twenty years later the narrator of this story – one of the three young burglars – books a room in the Arass Hotel in Antwerp, in the exact same location where he made off with the letters. During his stay he has a go at unravelling the mystery of Josée and Clive Davis and restoring the past to its former glory. While doing so, he also faces up to his own decisions, mistakes and thingsthat-might-have-been. World rights: De Bezige Bij Antwerpen • English sample translation available Fiction 304 pages 19


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‘One of the most promising and ambitious writers of his young generation.’ – nrc handelsblad ‘If you want to be astonished by a contemporary novel, take some time off, sit down on the sofa and lose yourself in the maze that pushes ‘32’ to the limit.’ **** – cuttingedge.be ‘A terrific novel. […] Daan Heerma van Voss is a compelling novelist.’ – humo

daan heerma van voss (1986) is the author of the novels Een zondagsman  (A Sunday Man, nominated for the Anton Wachter Prize 2011), Zonder tijd te verliezen (No Time To Lose, 2012), De Vergeting (The Forgetting, 2013) and 70 (2013). He is also a regular contributor to Vrij Nederland, Das Magazin and De Groene Amsterdammer. In 2012 he won De Tegel for excellence in journalism.


new literary fiction

Daan Heerma van Voss The Land 32 I’m soaking wet with rain. Then he drags me back into my room, his hard hands under my armpits. I can smell earth and mud.

A young man wakes up in a bare, nameless hospital. Who is he? What is he doing here? He cannot remember anything. On the wall are two security cameras that may or may not be working. Nothing else. A little later he finds a serving tray in his room with a few items on it, including a pencil, three sheets of paper and a note: ‘4,000 words by tomorrow. That’s the deal. Write. Only then will you be given food. Friday.’ The building has two other occupants: the guard Friday and the sick girl Penny Lane. Stanley can obtain food vouchers by writing stories and distracting Penny from her illness. He produces story after story, with recurring motifs: a staircase with a man and a woman, names from well-known films, songs and novels. Snippets of memories of life before the hospital come back.

World rights: De Bezige Bij and Van Grunsven Creative Management English sample translation available • Fiction 544 pages 21


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‘Van Gerrewey consolidates his reputation as a cerebral writer, putting our convoluted thoughts under the microscope. Beautiful, meandering sentences.’ – de morgen ‘This is no broad, colourful realism, but intelligent and analytical, richly layered prose. […] I’m already looking forward to his next book.’ – trouw

christophe van gerrewey (1982) is a wayward and versatile essayist and story­ teller. In 2012 his debut Op de hoogte (Up To Date) was nominated for the Bronzen Uil, the Academica Literature Prize and a Cutting Edge Award.


new literary fiction

Christophe Van Gerrewey Your Train Has Been Delayed When they’re strangers, people ignore each other in an almost callous way, unless it’s love or sex they’re after, or both, in which case they can’t ignore each other, not even if they want to.

Barely 18 months after his well-received debut, Christophe Van Gerrewey confirms his literary credentials. Your Train Has Been Delayed starts with a train leaving Ostend Station for Antwerp Central. For a long time, all goes to plan: passengers stare outside or at each other, tickets are punched, stations are reached. But then the train grinds to a halt, and before long the questions, frustrations, problems and confrontations mount. Your Train Has Been Delayed is a comical account of a train journey, relating the experiences of travellers and their troubles. In the capable hands of Van Gerrewey a simple train journey comes to symbolise our hysterical times, in which nothing seems to work out and people are often no more than dissatisfied consumers.

World rights: De Bezige Bij Antwerpen • Fiction 240 pages 23


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‘Jeroen Theunissen has discovered his inner Homer for this modern Odyssey.’ ***** – de standaard

light-hearted, no-nonsense and sometimes satirical style, Theunissen paints a picture of all the

‘In a

changes the world has seen in the past fifty years. Ambitious, you say? Absolutely. And he pulls it off too.’ – focus knack

jeroen theunissen (1977) made his debut with De onzichtbare (The Invisible One, 2004). He has published two poetry collections, Thuisverlangen (Homesickness, 2005) and Het zit zo (It’s Like This, 2009), a short story collection Het einde (The End, 2006) and the novels Een vorm van vermoeidheid (A Form of Fatigue, 2008) and De stolp (The Glass Dome, 2010).


new literary fiction

Jeroen Theunissen The Detours Thirty-eight tea towels and three sheets later, Tina stopped crying, once and for all. And although she certainly tried and her inability to cry left her feeling furious and desperately frustrated, she did not shed another tear for years. She dried up. Literally. The three Joes, triplets, celebrate their eighteenth birthday during the month Kurt Cobain takes his own life. With lofty but vague ideals, they leave their parental home and go out into the big wide world. The first becomes a do-gooder, the second a multi-millionaire, the third a brawny adventurer and womanizer. But languishing at home is their mother, a woman born at the exact moment when Robert Schuman spoke of a Europe which ought to unite in small but concrete steps. Evoking the atmosphere of epic series such as Heimat and La meglio gioventĂš, the novel The Detours is a sweeping saga of a post-war family which has left too much unsaid.

World rights: De Bezige Bij Antwerpen Shortlisted for the Libris Literature Prize • Fiction 378 pages 25


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‘A

brilliant novel. Maartje Wortel is the Dutch Haruki Murakami.’ ***** – de morgen

‘This shows what an excellent storyteller Maartje Wortel is, culminating in the chilling scenes on the Swedish island. You’ll want to read more, a lot more.’ – nrc handelsblad ‘She keeps surprising you with her wry observations and philosophical asides.’ – trouw

Since the publication of her debut short story collection Dit is jouw huis (This Is Your House) in 2009, maartje wortel (1982) has carved out a place for herself in the Dutch literary scene. She makes frequent live appearances, publishes in various newspapers and magazines and reads out a story on VPRO radio show De Avonden every other week. She received the two-yearly Anton Wachter Prize for her debut, while her novel Half mens (Half A Man) was nominated for the BNG New Literature Prize.


new literary fiction

Maartje Wortel Ice Age The hardest thing about her absence is that she’s still somewhere, changing over time, walking around town, lying in bed, eating, making love and sleeping. But all without me. On a cold winter’s day, James Dillard receives a phone call from Monica, a literary editor, asking him to write a book. The relationship with the love of his life has just broken down, and except for reading voraciously and devouring huge quantities of expensive French cheese James has nothing much to do. He decides to accept Monica’s request – maybe this is his chance to finally be someone? Once accepted in the literary world, he attends literary soirees and comes into contact with the American author Chuck Palahniuk, to whom he pours his heart out. As he looks back on everything that’s gone wrong in his family and his life, James ultimately finds himself.

World rights: De Bezige Bij and Van Grunsven Creative Management Fiction 238 pages 27


tomas ross crime

‘This book provoked questions in Parliament before it was even published. Roel Janssen is on to something with Nazi Gold. He presents interesting faction with a key role for Neo-Nazis. There’s plenty here for a follow-up.’ – elsevier

roel janssen (1947) is an author and financial journalist. He recently published Grof Geld (Big Money) about financial scandals and has several thrillers to his name, including De struisvogelcode (The Ostrich Code), Het Mercatorcomplot (The Mercator Conspiracy), Karaktermoord (Character Assassination) and De tiende vrouw (The Tenth Wife). The latter was awarded the Gouden Noose for best Dutch-language crime novel in 2007.


commercial fiction

Roel Janssen Nazi Gold No light, no food or water, no help, no mobile signal. Disorientated by darkness, a blind man in a Berlin war bunker.

Fifteen gold coins inherited from his grandmother point Elmer van der Breggen towards the gold the Nazis stole from The Netherlands during World War II. With the help of an eccentric financial advisor and a charming German professor he discovers how the gold was taken from Amsterdam to Germany and from there to Switzerland. His search takes him to Berlin bunkers and to the salt mine where the Americans found the hidden Nazi gold in the final few weeks of the war. Looking for answers, Elmer stumbles across the secret history of his family, neo-Nazis and the power of Swiss banks. Nazi Gold is a well-documented thriller about the greatest gold theft in Dutch history.

World rights: Tomas Ross Crime • Thriller 362 pages 29


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On Chosen Scapegoats: ‘Stylish. Toebosch’ style – brisk, light-hearted and matter-of-fact – brings the many generations of Josephus Jitta to life.’ **** – de volkskrant ‘In the past two centuries few if any Jewish families have had their stories told with such wit, pace and flair. The family has played a key role in Dutch history and has found a perfect biographer in Toebosch.’ – de pers

theo toebosch (1963) is an archaeologist, journalist and author. He writes for NRC Handelsblad and is the sole editor of website Toebosch’ Eigen tijdschrift. He has previously published Grondwerk (Groundwork) and Uitverkoren zondebokken. Een familiegeschiedenis (Chosen Scapegoats. A Family History).


new literary non-fiction

Theo Toebosch The First to Fall. The Drama of 2 August 1914

Who had the dubious honour of being the first to fall during World War I?

On 2 August 1914, thirty hours before war is declared, two soldiers lose their lives in a skirmish outside the French village of Joncherey: French corporal André Peugeot and German second lieutenant Albert Mayer. Both are officially seen as the first casualties – and that this was not taken lightly is evidenced by the fact that both were honoured in their native countries with, among other things, imposing monuments. Theo Toebosch describes the lives of the two soldiers, of the young German cavalry man from a rich banking family and of the French conscript and teacher. And what exactly happened during the incident outside Joncherey? This small piece of history made on 2 August 1914 mirrors the enormous tragedy of the rest of the war.

World rights: De Bezige Bij • Historical non-fiction 304 pages 31


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‘In Food Fables Stam draws on new research to debunk quite a few myths.’ – het parool ‘Food Fables outlines all the scientific findings on nutrition. Clearly written, this is the best overview I have ever read.’ – de volkskrant

As a journalist and reviewer huib stam (1956) has written about film and television for the likes of de Volkskrant, Elle, Skoop and de Filmkrant. He has also made documentaries for Dutch broadcaster VPRO. He is a copywriter and writes on historical subjects. In 2011 he published Haring. Een liefdesgeschiedenis (Herring. A Love Story).


new literary non-fiction

Huib Stam Food Fables Debunking the myths around healthy and unhealthy eating

Thanks to the sublime construction of the human body most of us will live to a ripe old age without too many problems. That said, it is beginning to dawn on us that the diseases that hit us are linked to our diet and lifestyle. Yet those of us who want to learn more about health, nutrition and lifestyle are at the mercy of diet gurus, badly informed journalists, conservative health advisers and deceitful manufacturers. We have to make do with simplified versions of complex science and, above all, a lot of superstition about what’s good and bad for us. Food Fables punctures the myths and provides the background to what we know and think we know about food and health. It fills in any gaps about our daily diet, and offers new insights on deep-seated beliefs and clear explanations of current developments.

World rights: De Bezige Bij • Popular non-fiction 336 pages 33


oog & blik

‘Dirk-Jan Hoek is a compelling storyteller. A graphic novelist to watch.’ – parool ‘Mao’s Sparrows is a modest, but surprising **** – zone 5300

debut.’

Alongside his work as ­functional designer, dirk-jan hoek (1972) writes and draws cartoons for Speld.nl. When, during a long bike ride across China, the bird-fancier discovered that Mao once intended to exterminate all sparrows, he used it as the inspiration for his first graphic novel Mao’s Sparrows.


new graphic novels

Dirk-Jan Hoek Mao’s Sparrows Zhou Xuan’s song was beautiful but loud. I had named her after an opera singer. She was extremely popular with Shan Kwan. Shan Kwan, the sex addict. But the most eye-catching sparrow was Mao Zedong, the cock of the walk.

Dong Tjong is a teacher in a small village in China, and a great bird enthusiast. But then one day Mao, the Great Helmsman, orders the extermination of all sparrows because they are eating the harvest. Dong Tjong has to construct catapults with his students and deliver a bag full of dead sparrows to the authorities every week. Dong comes up with a plan to rescue the sparrows, thereby putting himself and his wife at risk. In a clear style, Dirk-Jan Hoek paints a fine picture of communist China, covering a dark chapter in the country’s recent history.

World rights: Oog & Blik • b&w graphic novel 80 pages 35


oog & blik

‘This graphic novel is a richly layered book, filled with art, irony and self-mockery. Buy it! It’s a must-have.’ ***** – striptip ‘Humour, lifestyle, literature and philosophy: it’s all part of this coming-of-age novel.’ – passionate ‘Unfiltered is a remarkable graphic novel which deserves to be noticed and read.’ – het stripschap

robert van raffe (1982) is a designer, cartoonist and philosophy student. In 2005 he graduated from the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam. Van Raffe has published his cartoons in Passionate, nrc.next, Zone 5300, Algemeen Dagblad and Eisner, among others. He has also self-published a few cartoons. Unfiltered is his first graphic novel.


new graphic novels

Robert van Raffe Unfiltered Dandy it was then… There was only one thing for it. In a sardonic ritual I distanced myself from the narrow dictionary definitions.

Unfiltered is a coming-of-age story in pictures. After a student is left by his l­over – she moves to Italy – he embarks on a long journey, in mind rather than body. His girlfriend dumped him, so something has to change and he decides to undergo a metamorphosis. He gives his image a radical overhaul and becomes a dandy. He takes the transformation so far it ultimately drives him insane. Van Raffe’s use of colour and the deeper layers of the narrative really bring the story to life.

World rights: Oog & Blik • Full colour graphic novel 208 pages 37


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‘The Power of Paradise by Jonathan Holslag is a refreshing read – daring, witty, profound and brimming with ideas. Holslag has great journalistic skills.[ … ] A provoking and inspiring account.’ ***** – de volkskrant ‘Holslag wants his book to be a wake-up call to Europe and he pulls it off brilliantly. At the same time, despite the many beautiful metaphors, the foundations of his political manifesto are academically sound.’ – het financieel dagblad

jonathan holslag (b. 1981) teaches international politics at the University of Brussels and is affiliated with the Brussels Institute of Contemporary China Studies (biccs). In Belgium as well as abroad, he shares his insights with the general public in academic magazines and as an analyst in the media. Previously he has published the academic books Power or myth? (vub Press, 2007), China and India: Prospects for Peace (Columbia University Press, 2010) and Trapped Giant (Institute of International and Strategic Studies, 2011).


successful title

Jonathan Holslag The Power of Paradise One thing is clear: the twenty-first century will be the Asian century.

We, as Europeans, feel as if the future passes right by us. The crisis rages over our continent like a storm and dismantles all our certainties. Are the fundaments of Europe crumbling? And do we actually understand what is going on? One thing is obvious, this will be an Asian Century. Yet, there is no reason to assume that Asia’s rise will be fundamentally different from Europe’s nasty and turbulent past. In The Power of Paradise, Jonathan Holslag overwhelmingly describes the post-War economic, societal and cultural history of Europe. It is an epic story about our urge for prosperity and the way in which we’ve lost track. Holslag is a superb chronicler of his time. He enriches his sharp and disturbing analysis of our economically failing continent with the prospect of a new renaissance – if we succeed in turning things around. Deep inside Europe still lurks the power of paradise.

World rights: De Bezige Bij Antwerpen • Full English synopsis available Rights sold: Guangdong Economy (mainland China)Non-fiction: cultural and economical history, 606 pages 39


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‘The events come down in torrents… majestic **** – de volkskrant

style’

‘The Hellcat is a feast of anecdotes. And, after Tonio, a miracle.’ – vrij nederland ‘Despite the generous dose of misery that passes before our eyes, The Hellcat is remarkably light-hearted. The reader can’t help but laugh at many of the incidents. (...) Van der Heijden writes great satire.’ – elsevier

a.f.th. van der heijden (1951) is one of the great living Dutch authors. His oeuvre consists mainly of two sagas: The Toothless Time and Homo Duplex. In 2011 Van der Heijden won the Constantijn Huygens Award for his entire oeuvre. In the same year he published Tonio. A requiem novel, about the sudden death of his only child, which won him the Libris Literature Prize and the NS Readers’ Prize. Last year A.F.Th. Van der Heijden received the P.C. Hooft Prize for his entire oeuvre.


successful title

A.F.Th. van der Heijden The Hellcat They jokingly called her Cleanin’ Tini – but when she had a cleaning fit, she wouldn’t let anything stand in her way We meet Albert Egberts’ Aunt Tini. She is jokingly known as Tidy Tini, but her furious cleaning and polishing is ruthless. She has a pathological fear of contamination and a relent­lessly acerbic tongue, ruining many a family celebration with vicious tirades against her parents, her older sister and her husband. To her nephew Albert, Aunt Tini is daunting and intriguing in equal measure. As a little boy he eavesdropped on her and tried desperately to fathom what she meant by her semi-explicit faultfinding. In his time as a student in Nijmegen he even ends up in bed with her. Once he becomes a father himself, Albert is on track for a major confrontation, in which all family secrets finally come to light. The Hellcat is an astonishingly lively and humorous novel in which Van der Heijden once again proves the immense vitality and power of his talent.

World rights: De Bezige Bij • Rights sold: Suhrkamp (Germany) Fiction 256 pages 41


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‘The perceptive Hertmans has given voice not only to his grandfather but to an entire generation.’ **** – de volkskrant ‘With War and Turpentine Stefan Hertmans has written one of the most moving books of the year.’ ***** – de standaard ‘It’s a masterpiece.’ **** – humo

stefan hertmans (1951) has published novels, short story collections, essays and poetry. In 1995 he was awarded the three-yearly Flemish poetry prize. He has also received two nominations for the vsb Poetry Prize. His novel The Hidden Tissue (2008), received unanimous praise.


successful title

Stefan Hertmans War and Turpentine About the poignant life of a grandfather, wwi and a devastating love Shortly before his death in the 1980s, ­Stefan Hertmans’ grandfather gave him a couple of old notebooks. For years he was afraid to open them, but when he did he stumbled across some unexpected secrets. His grandfather’s life was marked by his impoverished childhood in pre-1900 ­Ghent, by gruesome experiences as a soldier on the front during wwi and by a great love who died young. For the rest of his life he converted his grief into tranquil paintings. In an attempt to get to the bottom of his grandfather’s life Hertmans wrote down the memories he had of the man. He quotes from the diaries and analyses the paintings. Hertmans tells the story with the kind of imaginative power only great writers possess, and in a form that leaves an indelible impression. War and Turpentine is a poignant search for a life that coincided with the tragic events of the 20th century and is an attempt to give a posthumous, almost mythical expression to that life. World rights: De Bezige Bij • English sample translation and synopsis available Winner of the Flemish Culture Award for Literature, shortlisted for the Libris Literature Prize, the Golden Book Owl and the Davidsfonds History Prize Rights sold: Hanser Berlin (Germany), Gallimard (France), Alfred A. Knopf (North America) Harvill Secker (UK) Text (ANZ) Marsilio (Italy) People’s Press (Denmark) Heliks (Serbia) Pax (Norway) Norstedts (Sweden), Fraktura (Croatia), Európa (Hungary) • Fiction 334 pages 43


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‘A sensuous story about people who try to get closer to one another, yet remain strangers.’ – nrc handelsblad ‘De Moor describes all of these forms of love with grace and compassion, without explaining too much. The end result is a compelling story.’ – algemeen dagblad ‘As Margriet de Moor tells us about the courtship rituals of her characters she sounds by turns controlled and demonic, natural and insane. Fascinating.’ – die welt

margriet de moor (1941) made her debut in 1988 with the short story collection Seen from Behind. It was followed by successful novels including First Grey, Then White, Then Blue, which won her the AKO Literature Prize in 1992, The Virtuoso, The Kreuzer Sonata, The Storm and The Painter and the Girl. Her work has been translated into twenty-four languages. Mélodie d’Amour is her ninth novel.


successful title

Margriet de Moor Mélodie d’amour Rarely has anyone written so lucidly about love Rotterdam in the 1950s; the collapse of a great love. A young woman called Marina comes to live with Atie and Gustaaf and family. Gustaaf ’s adultery leaves Marina pregnant and eventually leads to a divorce. Gustaaf starts a new family with Marina, and Atie’s immense love for him turns into pitiful hatred. Luuk, one of Atie’s sons with Gustaaf, watches the whole situation destroy his parents’ marriage. He says nothing, and the adulterers never bring up the subject either. In part two we follow Luuk, who now has children of his own, as well as a wife and a mistress – the same situation as his father was in all those years ago. We see him through the eyes of his obsessive and pushy mistress Cindy. He is the subject of her fickle and tempestuous moods. She storms into his life without the slightest inhibition and sometimes at the most inconvenient moments.

World rights: De Bezige Bij • English sample and full German translation available • Shortlisted for the Opzij Literature Prize 2014, longlisted for the Libris Literature Prize 2014 • Rights sold: Hanser Verlag (Germany) Fiction 336 pages 45


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‘Choke Valley is the seventh jewel in Frank Westerman’s crown; a great European author, a writer of literature.’ – de volkskrant             ‘Each and every one of the stories Westerman digs up is brilliant. Choke Valley is a real success as a book. The search for and gathering together of stories was an excellent plan that has been very well executed. Enthusiasm is paramount.’ **** – nrc handelsblad

frank westerman (1964) studied tropical agricultural engineering at Wageningen University. He was a correspondent for de Volkskrant and NRC Handelsblad in Belgrade and Moscow. His books include The Blackest Scenario (1995), about the fall of Srebrenica, The Republic of Grain (1999), Engineers of the Soul (2002), Ararat (2007) and Brother Mendel’s Perfect Horse (2010). His books have received many awards and nominations both at home and abroad. El Negro and Me (2004) won him the Golden Owl Literature Prize in 2005.


successful title

Frank Westerman Choke Valley On the origin of stories 21 August 1986: in the evening, at full moon, all life in a valley in northwest Cameroon is wiped out. Chickens, baboons, zebus and birds drop dead in the grass – as do two thousand men, women and children. But not before they try to tear the clothes off their bodies. There are no signs of other damage: huts and palm trees are intact. These are the facts. But what happened? Thirty-six hours after the catastrophe, two Dutch missionaries are the first to descend into the valley of death. In the days that follow, scientists from Japan, Hawaii and Iceland are dropped off in the disaster zone by helicopter. From the edge of the valley, the African survivors look on in complete bewilderment. Choke Valley deconstructs every single aspect of this mysterious mass death. In his customary, evocative style, Frank Westerman looks at the same event from three different angles. He guides the reader through the jungle of stories which has grown out of the compost of facts in the space of twenty-five years. What words and images have attached themselves to the facts and how have they developed into new myths? How do stories come into being? World rights: De Bezige Bij • English sample translation available Rights sold: Iperborea (Italy), Bourgois (France), Leopard (Sweden) Literary narrative non-fiction 320 pages 47


De Bezige Bij at the London Book Fair 2014 Henk Prรถpper Director / Publisher De Bezige Bij, De Bezige Bij Antwerpen, Balans, Cargo, Thomas Rap and Oog & Blik Leonoor Broeder l.broeder@debezigebij.nl Editor-in-chief non-fiction De Bezige Bij Marije de Bie m.de.bie@debezigebij.nl Editor translated fiction De Bezige Bij

Plien van Albada vanalbada@uitgeverijbalans.nl Publisher Balans Arend Hosman a.hosman@thomasrap.nl Editor-in-chief Thomas Rap Melissa van der Wagt m.van.der.wagt@debezigebij.nl Publisher Cargo (Slaughterhouse; Tomas Ross Crime) Marjolein Schurink m.schurink@debezigebij.nl Editor-in-chief Cargo

Peter van der Zwaag p.van.der.zwaag@debezigebij.nl Editor-in-chief translated fiction De Bezige Bij / Oog & Blik

Hayo Deinum h.deinum@debezigebij.nl Foreign rights manager

Harold Polis h.polis@wpg.be Publisher De Bezige Bij Antwerpen

Marijke Nagtegaal m.nagtegaal@debezigebij.nl Foreign rights manager

Dutch language literature: guest of honour of the Frankfurt Book Fair 2016! For the latest (foreign) rights news, please visit us at our tables 21E and 22E in IRC


Foreign Rights Guide London 2014