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Diane De Keyzer

Born in the Flemish town of Lubbeek on 25 December 1958, Diane De Keyzer finds it interesting that her parents chose the name of a pagan goddess and not a Christmas child. From an early age she developed a fascination with history and the spoken word. This led to university studies of Dutch, English and history.

Dividing her time between teaching and free-lance journalism, De Keyzer began to research the true "upstairs-downstairs" relationship between house servants and their employers. She compiled their stories into her first book 'Madame est servie'. Published in 1995, the book became a best-seller. She continued to explore this neglected area of social history with two more successful books. One focused on kitchen personnel while the other painted a vivid portrait of those who worked in vacation villas on the Belgian coast.

Some anecdotes from her first book led De Keyzer to another under discussed topic in social history: sex education. She interviewed over 100 women from four generations and in 2004 published 'De Schaamte en de Schrik, Goesting en Genot' (The Shame and the Terror, Desire and Pleasure). De Keyzer's latest book is called 'De Engeltjesmaaksters' (The Angel Makers). The title is an old Dutch term referring to back street abortionists. De Keyzer studied the transcripts of 20 abortion cases from 1895-1915. These documents provided fascinating insights from numerous points of view about a subject which remains controversial today.

Vlaams Nederlands Huis de Buren Radio Netherlands The Foundation for the Production and Translation of Dutch Literature

This author's Radio Book:

Diane De Keyzer
The full apron

Belgian writer Diane De Keyzer has a special interest in social history, particularly regarding women. Her recent research into abortion in the early 20th century uncovered documents she uses in her story The Full Apron.

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