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Diane Broeckhoven

Diane Broeckhoven was born in Antwerp in 1946. She studied Dutch literature and rhetoric at Antwerp’s Royal Conservatorium. At the age of 24 she moved to the Netherlands where she lived and worked for thirty years before returning to her birthplace. As a freelance journalist she’s written for numerous Dutch and Flemish publications.

Difficult themes
Broeckhoven began writing books for children and young readers in 1980. She is particularly known for introducing difficult themes not usually found in children’s literature. She won numerous awards for her 1986 book ‘Een dood vogeltje’ (A Dead Little Bird) which concerned the death of a child.

Her 1997 book ‘Krystalnacht’ (Crystal Night) is about a young girl named Lara who finds out her uncle has AIDS. Lara and her friends deal with this much better than the adults in the story. The book was honoured by two separate children’s juries.

Broeckhoven began writing fiction for adults in 1998. Her 2001 novel ‘De buitenkant van Meneer Jules’ (The Outside of Mr. Jules) has been translated into several languages and became a bestseller in Germany. It portrays a woman who, after the death of her husband, finds unexpected comfort from the autistic son of a neighbour.

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

This author's Radio Book:

Diane Broeckhoven
A man of bronze

Broeckhoven’s short story ‘Clair-obscur’ about the American Impressionist artist Mary Cassatt is included in the collection ‘Painting in a Man’s World’ published in English last year in conjunction with an exhibition in Frankfurt. Cassatt settled in Paris in 1874. An incident four years earlier may have inspired Broeckhoven’s story for Radiobooks.

“My dear Victor Noir… More than a century ago, you were shot down, right in front of your own house, by your rival in love, Pierre Bonaparte – yes, nephew of, no less. The fact that a hundred thousand people came to your funeral must have been a comfort and an honour for a young, unknown journalist... What really made you immortal was your reputation as a Casanova.”

Victor Noir was buried in Père Lachaise cemetery. The life-size bronze statue at his gravesite still attracts female visitors who leave gifts in an upturned top hat in the belief that it will increase their fertility. In Broeckhoven’s story, a woman plans a rendezvous there with a lover she has not seen in seventeen years.

‘A Man of Bronze’ by Diane Broeckhoven was translated by John Nieuwenhuizen. It’s read by Jacky Spears.

Produced by Radio Netherlands Wordwide

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