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Adriaan van Dis

Adriaan van Dis was born in Bergen aan Zee in 1946, shortly after his family returned to Holland from Indonesia. He studied Dutch and Afrikaans in Amsterdam and wrote his graduate thesis on the South African poet Breyten Breytenbach.

In 1974 he began to write regularly for the culture section of the Dutch newspaper the NRC Handelsblad. But he became most well known as host of his own literary television programme “Here is… Adriaan van Dis” which was broadcast from 1983 to 1992 and won the Nipkowschijf prize.

Between two cultures
His first book “Nathan Sid” was published in 1983 and won the Golden Dog-Ear prize for best-selling literary debut. It’s the story of a boy growing up between two cultures: the paradise of colonial Indonesia and the drabness of the Netherlands after the Second World War. His family’s Indonesian background would also play a role in his later novels. From the mid-1980’s to the mid 1990’s van Dis wrote two short story collections, several plays and travel books based on his trips to China and Africa.

Indische duinen’ (My Father’s War) published in 1994 was his most successful book. In it he explores his complex relationship with his cruel soldier father who died when he was a boy. Reviewers called it a superbly written, merciless autobiographical novel. Van Dis was awarded the 1995 Golden Owl and the Trouw Public’s prize for the book which sold over 300,000 copies. It has been translated into numerous languages including English.

He carried on the autobiographical thread in his 2002 novel ‘Familieziek’ (Family Fray) in turns both melancholy and humorous. In 2004 van Dis moved to Paris, the setting of his latest novel ‘De wandelaar’ (The Walker). This powerful, socially aware novel is about a Dutch man living in Paris and leading a solitary existence when he witnesses a dramatic fire in a building occupied by illegal immigrants and transients. As a man committed to the idea of ‘doing a little good,’ his ideals are no match for a city teeming with unrest and racial hatred.

Listen to this Radio Book in Afrikaans: Hoë besoek

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

This author's Radio Book:

Adriaan van Dis
Hoë Besoek (AFR)

To mark the Stellenbosch edition of citybooks, Rentia Bartlett-Möhl has translated twelve Dutch-language Radiobooks and citybooks into Afrikaans and had them recorded in South Africa by professional actors. Hoë besoek is the translation of Adriaan van Dis' Radio Book Hoog bezoek.

Voorgelees deur André Bartlett
Vertaal deur Rentia Bartlett-Möhl
Redigering deur Amelia de Vaal
Klank en opname deur Tim Pringle
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