Peter Verhelst (b. 1962) made his debut as a poet, but primarily gained fame with his unusual, intriguing prose and his plays. After Vloeibaar harnas (Liquid Harness, 1993), Het spierenalfabet (The Muscle Alphabet, 1995) and De kleurenvanger (The Colour Catcher, 1996), his breakthrough came with Tongkat (Tongue Cat, 1999). In 2000 this novel was awarded the Gouden Uil literary prize by both the official jury and the alternative jury of young people. In Zwellend fruit (Swelling Fruit, 2000) and Memoires van een luipaard (Memoirs of a Leopard, 2001) he opted for a more traditional approach. The voluminous novel Zwerm (Swarm, 2005), which is ambitious both thematically and stylistically, is a highlight in his oeuvre.